Referrals 101: Five Easy Tips to Discover Top Talent

by Scott Wintrip

Word of mouth is a powerful way to find great talent and fill open positions in your small business. A referral system can help you find the perfect job candidates… and keep your company going strong.

  1. Ask for help. If there's a "magic bullet" for getting quality referrals, it's this. Just telling someone that you need help—even saying the word itself—creates an important dynamic. It's human nature for us to help one another. This simple approach often paves the way for people to be generous in pointing you in the right direction.
  2. Realize a little goes a long way. Investing a few minutes each day in referral recon pays off, and it's so easy, it won’t even feel like work. When a vendor stops by, ask for their help with referrals; at the restaurant where you're having lunch, network with the employees you meet; a phone call to a friend could turn into two or three candidate referrals. Small, quick inquiries can become big wins when you find the right person to hire.
  3. Get specific. Don't just ask your contacts for referrals to people who are looking for a job; ask for referrals to the specific type of person you want to hire. If you're looking for a store manager, you might ask, "Who do you know who is good at managing a retail store? I'm especially looking for someone who listens more than they speak." Such precision helps the person you're asking thoroughly search their mental Rolodex for the right person amongst the hundreds of people they know.
  4. Don't forget the obvious. How often do you ask current employees for their help with candidate referrals? What about their family members, previous employees or your own family and friends? It's easy to overlook the obvious, but when we do this, we're likely missing out on the insight of the very people who are most likely to want to help us.
  5. Remember the most important "rule" for attracting great talent. It isn't high salaries or fancy titles; it's being a great place to work. Make sure your business has a positive and engaging environment, and people will go out of their way to refer their friends and colleagues to you. iBi

 

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