How to Set Up a Successful Candidate Referral Scheme in 5 Steps

Looking to reach a pool of high-quality candidates that nobody else is talking to? What if we told you some of your best-placed candidates can do the hard work for you?

Implementing a candidate referral scheme into your strategy is a simple way to get candidates to recommend you and your jobs to others.

The best part is, referred candidates tend to be a better fit for roles, making them happier employees. Create a successful referral scheme and you'll benefit from more candidates and better retention rates.

Here’s how to set up a successful candidate referral scheme…

Step 1: Work out the referral process 

Candidate-referral-schemeBefore you can reap the benefits of high-quality candidate referrals, you first need to establish exactly how your referral scheme will work. 

The idea is to encourage your existing candidates to share your roles and brand with their friends, colleagues, and family members. But if you want them to do this, you need to make the process as easy as possible. 

Ideally, you'll have a dedicated landing page that features between 2-4 form fields that collect the full name and email addresses of both the candidate and the referee.

If your website doesn’t have the functionality for this, don’t stress! There are plenty of third-party providers such as Typeform or Google Forms that will do the hard work for you.

Step 2: Establish the terms  

It's crucial that you establish clear terms of your reward structure to avoid confusing candidates (or getting into awkward situations!). Work out exactly when and how you'll give the candidates their reward. It could be the moment they enter another person's details, but the safest bet would be to once the referred candidate has been placed in their new role. It's also important to establish the limits of your scheme. For example:

  • How many people can a candidate refer in a year?
  • Is there a limit to the number of people that can be referred?
  • Can they refer someone who’s already in your database?

Outline all your terms on your referral page to make sure it’s crystal-clear to candidates exactly what needs to happen and when for them to unlock their reward. 

Step 3: Choose an incentive 

employee benefits candidates love-minRunning a referral scheme is a highly cost-effective way to acquire new candidates, but that's not to say it’s totally free!

The most successful referral schemes are those that offer an incentive to encourage people to take part. 

First, you need to establish if the scheme is to be one-sided (only rewarding the referring candidate) or two-sided (rewarding both parties).  This will help you determine what kind of budget you need for each set of rewards. Of course, the higher the value of the incentive, the more persuasive it will be, but your scheme doesn’t need to have a huge budget.

Here are five cost-effective incentives to consider:

  • A voucher (High Street vouchers, restaurant vouchers, Amazon)
  • Cash incentive
  • A hamper or a similar gift
  • Branded swag
  • Entry into a monthly, quarterly raffle to win a bigger prize

Still not sure? Why not survey your candidates!

Step 4: Create a dedicated landing page

Now you’ve mapped out the logistics and chosen an incentive, it’s time to make it irresistible to your candidates. To do this, you need a dedicated landing page that sells the benefits and makes it as easy as possible for candidates to refer someone.

This landing page is the epicentre of your referral scheme. Make sure it fits in with the look and feel candidates know and love about your brand.

The aim is to convince candidates to leave a referral so it doesn't need to be overly wordy. Keep your webpage copy short and simple and remember to be personable, after all, you're asking them for a favour!

Step 5: Launch your scheme 

Launching your scheme isn't as simple as publishing a landing page and watching new candidates trickle in. To get them into your CRM, you first need to promote it to your current candidates and any you've recently placed.

Essentially, you’re asking them to advocate for you, so the stronger the relationship the better! If you have time to send out one-to-one emails, that’s great! If not segment out your database and send a bulk email and be sure to use any personalisation tools. Keep the message informal and friendly, the last thing they want is to be advocating for a robot!

The trick to getting more referrals comes not from bulk emailing your entire database, but from putting a process in place that makes sure you ask all your future placements for a referral. This could be something as simple as setting up reminders in your CRM or putting together an automated email campaign.

Step 6: Review and improve your scheme

The best way to maximise any new marketing channel is to continuously look for ways to leverage from and improve on it: The rule applies to your new candidate referrals scheme.

Once it’s up and running, review your scheme every month, quarter or six months. Review the number of referrals, email performance and landing page traffic. The data will always teach you something! For example, if the page gets a lot of traffic, but doesn't convert, perhaps your incentive isn't strong enough.

Knowing this, you can up the value or even run a higher value offering for a limited time only. This will give you a fresh angle to promote and might be just the thing to get you fresh referrals through the LP and into your CRM. 

Candidate Driven Market

Amy McLaughlin

As Senior Digital Marketer at Firefish, Amy keeps our Firefish customers up to date with the latest news from the Aquarium.

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