Why a Referral is Important- And 3 Ways to Get One

If you want to understand the importance of referrals, I want you to consider how many job applications Google receives every year? If you Google the question (haha), you’ll see references to up to 2,000,000+ applications annually.

How much time does a recruiter spend reading a resume? The resume that you spent hours refining each keyword, tailoring each bullet to be perfect?

In many cases, it’s not more than 10 seconds. Generally, a recruiter will scan your name, experience titles, education, maybe read a bullet and that’s it. These precious 10 seconds assume your resume even got passed the AI screening tool, which provides the first cull of resumes.

This is why, for any job you apply to, it is imperative that you try and get a referral prior to applying for a position.

How does a referral help you?

1. Jump to the top of the application pile. A referral can help you to bypass both the AI and the initial recruiter screening

2. Earn an actual read of your resume. If a resume has been referred by somebody who is trusted, the recruiter or hiring manager will be influenced to assume that the candidate is strong, and will spend more than 10 seconds reading the resume

3. It can fast-track the hiring process. Referrals can lead straight to the interview process, as opposed to waiting days/weeks for screenings. This is especially helpful for individuals who have an urgent need to get through the hiring process.

4. Companies invest in their referral programs. The cost of hiring talent is high. It is a lengthy process that takes away time and resources from focusing on strategic work. A strong referral program is a pipeline for great talent. In many cases, companies will pay a referral bonus to an employee, whose referral is hired. This means both the company and employees, want to find great referrals. They are working in your interest

How To Get a Referral?

1. Leverage your network to find contacts at the company you would like to work for, and ask for a referral. Some easy sources to look for contacts within your network:
a. LinkedIn
b. Social clubs
c. Previous employers
d. Other social media platforms
e. Friends/colleagues

2. Ask for introductions to your contacts network (e.g., if you don’t know any body at Amazon, but a friend of your friend knows somebody, ask for an introduction)

3. If you have no direct/indirect contacts, reach out to somebody at the company directly via LinkedIn. Find an individual in the role/group that you would like to join (e.g., Microsoft Finance team). Send a direct mail introducing yourself, with the intent of trying to get to know the individual. If they offer to connect use this time to ask them about their role, the company, why they like their job. Share your elevator pitch, tell them what you are trying to achieve, ask for help.

Remember, some people will be willing to refer you and others won’t. This is an iterative process where it only takes on success for amazing results. Be ready and comfortable with the idea of trying multiple times.