Recruiting per employee: Search your colleagues themselves!


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Finding good employees is for many Company almost more difficult to win than customer. Since it sounds tempting to move employees to look for their future colleagues themselves - after all, they have to work with them. But the method has its pitfalls.Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Minimize the risk of hiring new employees

Recruitment are for Company always associated with risks: Does the new person fit into the team? Will he do his job well? And is he worth the tedious, cost-intensive application process?

By contrast, when employees recommend colleagues, they specifically contact those who are actually suitable - with much less wastage than, for example, job advertisements. In addition, referrers themselves are the best ambassadors for the employer brand that applicants trust. The risk of disappointment is thus minimized on both sides.

Examples of employee referral programs

The Internet company Travelbird from Amsterdam, for example, pays a bonus in the course of a staff referral program, when someone is recommended for hard-to-fill positions such as in IT, who gets the job - and proves himself.

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The Berlin entrepreneur Peter Chaljawski, with his Chal-Tec GmbH, has been targeting employee recommendations since the beginning to reduce costs and effort - and above all has had positive experiences: “Our employees usually have good contacts in the e-commerce scene and are happy that they can help shape their work environment. They are rarely friends, but more often former work colleagues, business partners or recommendations from them. The advantage is that you know the way they work and their strengths and weaknesses profile. This helps especially in key positions. ”

If the new colleague survives the trial period, the recruiters receive a bonus, the amount of which depends on the level of difficulty of the newly filled position. Chaljawski does not see the danger of group formation or that employees can be held responsible for bad recommendations: The employee establishes the contact and the lead, in the end it is up to HR and management to assess the candidates as part of a normal application process. Therefore, the recruiting department remains important, especially in fast growing companies. ”

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Not just for StartUps

But if you now think that such referral programs are only a cost-effective recruiting tool for startups, you're wrong: Traditional companies such as the Hamburger Volksbank have also been relying on employee recommendations for years: With the slogan “You know each other”, the bank encourages its employees to actively contact them potential colleagues.

If this results in an employment contract, advertisers can drive the company's own MINI convertible free of charge for two months. This fun factor and the prestige increase the bond with the employer - and thus also the advertising effect. And HR Manager Wolfram Kaiser has found that the recommended employees are particularly capable of teamwork and loyal: "Among the new hires that left the company, there was only one person from the referral program," said Kaiser.

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Employee recommendations are trendy

No wonder that employee recommendations are in vogue. A series of studies by the Center of Human Resources Information Systems at the University of Bamberg in cooperation with the Monster career portal shows:

Already, a quarter of the top German 1.000 companies have implemented employee referral programs and 8,2 percent of the actual attitudes come about. However, the differences are large depending on the sector: SMEs account for only 18,8 percent, while the IT sector uses more than half of these companies.

Employees are afraid of recommendations

However, there are also reservations: four out of ten employees are afraid to recommend candidates, as their possible poor performance could fall back on them. More than half of the employees even feel responsible for the performance of the colleagues they recommend. And two out of ten employees do not recommend anyone from their circle of acquaintances because they do not want to work with friends or acquaintances in a company.

The awarding of bonus rewards can also be seen, as the management thinker Anne Schüller explains: “The real secret of success of the recommendation is based on voluntary action. If the recipient of the recommendation learns that money has flowed, credibility and trust can suffer. One develops reservations and in the end prefers not to follow the not entirely unselfish advice. The greatest advantages of recommending are gone. ”

Checklist for employers

Companies that want to use employee referrals should take a close look:

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  • Is the premium for the recommendation a meaningful incentive?
  • Does it lead to an increased commitment of employees and thus to an additional advertising effect in the network?
  • And how do the recommendations ultimately affect the recruitment success? For example, how high is the graduation rate, but also the turnover rate?
  • In which departments are recommendations particularly successful?
  • And what costs are incurred compared to conventional recruiting?

Only with reliable key figures can one ultimately decide to what extent employee recommendations can complement or even replace traditional HR work.

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  1. Julie Hutchison

    RT @Berufebilder: Recruiting by Employee - Our contribution in Lead Digital: Search for your colleagues! - Highly recommended YM1HeN0UzJ # Experience ...

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