Companies have long touted employee referrals as the best method of hiring new employees—and rightfully so. The old adage, “leaves don’t fall far from the tree” is true. We often surround ourselves with like-minded people, and good employees are likely to know others who are just like them.
But companies often have to go to extremes to entice employees to refer a friend or former colleague for an open position. Employees hesitate to make referrals for many reasons; maybe they don’t want to put the effort into suggesting a new hire, or they might worry about how a new employee will rub off on them. But referral programs only work when employees are willing to offer up a name to the company’s recruiter.
Even if your company doesn’t offer a referral bonus, trip, or extra vacation time to encourage staff to suggest new hires, you’d be smart to consider recommending a friend.
Here are five good reasons why you should make a referral the next chance you get:
1. It helps your company succeed. Every company needs more great people and better talent than the competition. If you want your own professional dreams to come true, you need your company to perform well. And you can help your company perform well by keeping the company filled with the best people.
2. You can influence hiring decisions. This is your chance to get in on the action. Since you already work for the company, there’s no one more influential than you—especially if you’re a valued employee. With that clout, you can help the company make good decisions, and possibly save it from having to spend money on more recruiters.
3. Your referral might take the desk next to yours. Some employees enjoy having their friends at the office, and if you’re one of them, this could work in your favor. We sometimes hesitate when asked whether we’d refer our best friends to our companies. Yet some of the coolest companies around were started and founded by best friends and then populated with more good friends. If you want a better workplace, you’d be smart to fill it up with your friends.
4. Your friends will appreciate the help. With so many people unemployed or under-employed, those of us with good jobs should help our friends get their foot in the door. All you need to offer is an opportunity, and if your referral is qualified, they’ll take it from there.
5. What goes around comes around. You may have the good job today, but that could change in an instant. Down the road, you might be the one who needs the referral. If you’ve helped others in their job search, they’re more likely to want to return the favor.
Even if your job includes elements you don’t like, don’t assume your friends will feel the same way. A not-so-perfect job for you could be a dream job for them. And with a referral from you, they might just get a running start.
Rusty Rueff, director and career expert for jobs and career website Glassdoor.com has been a CEO, led HR in global companies and is co-author of Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business.