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September 8, 2020

How to Win the War for Talent

Transforming Candidates into Recruiters with Automated Referral Management

As you know, the war for talent is getting more intense, and it’s not expected to get easier. That’s why more staffing firms are turning to alternative sourcing methods, improving their digital presence, and ramping up referral programs to attract top talent.

Every staffing firm is on job boards, LinkedIn, or in their talents’ email inboxes with similar messaging and pay packages trying to differentiate their brand. Talent has grown immune to the promise that Staffing Firm XYZ has the best recruiters, unreal pay packages, or really, truly cares about them.

So, how do you win?

In the nine years I’ve been working with staffing agencies, I’ve seen one thing make a difference for the staffing firms that are immune to fluctuations in the market—referrals. 

Across the board, referrals are the best source of talent. 

  • 70% of employers felt referred hires fit the company culture and values better than other hires.
  • Referred candidates have better retention rates than cold candidates.
  • Employees sourced through referrals move through the hiring process 55% faster than those sourced through career sites.


Though up to 71% of staffing firms’ revenue is generated from referrals, the majority of firms don’t have a reliable way to source and track referral leads. 

Other industries are already capitalizing on the power of digital referrals. Think of Lyft or Airbnb. These companies use a referral program with unique shareable links, incentives, and automation to generate referrals from their customers. They essentially turn their customer base into marketers on their behalf. In fact, Airbnb’s referral program grew daily bookings by 300%!

The same is true for staffing. By digitizing referrals, automating outreach, and providing a dedicated referral dashboard, your firm’s talent pool can grow, all with just a click of a link. Imagine the benefits of turning your entire talent pool into digital recruiters.

Here’s how automating your referral process helps you harness the power of your most valuable source of candidates.


Empower your candidates to spread the word about your company online 

If I asked you to recommend an accountant, you’d likely be able to come up with a few people. You’d probably think of people you’d spoken to or seen on social media recently—people who were, because of random interactions, top of mind.

If you posted on social media looking for recommendations for an accountant, your results would likely be far more robust. Depending on the reach and makeup of your network, you might generate a dozen quality recommendations.

This is the difference between traditional referral programs and automated referral programs. In the past, you’d often rely on your recruiters and candidates to think of people to refer. It worked, but your reach was limited by their mental Rolodexes.

With an automated referral program, every contact in your database—from your passive candidates to your past employees, from your silent subscribers to your active workers—becomes a potential recruiter. Their entire social network becomes your single most valuable source of new talent. 


Save your recruiters time with automated email and text outreach

It’s not just referral generation that’s automated. The most successful referral programs communicate regularly with talent. This helps take the guesswork out of the referral process, creates trust by keeping the bonus process transparent, and builds more buy-in from candidates.

However, this much communication can tax your recruiting team when they’re likely already at capacity. By automating updates on friends’ job statuses, notifications about referral bonuses, and reminders to reach out for more referrals, you can create a consistent experience for your referring candidates while saving your recruiters tons of time.


Improve the candidate experience by making referrals easy and increasing transparency

In a recent survey we conducted of over 200 candidates, 55% of respondents said they were more likely to work with a staffing firm because of the strength of their referral program. This shows that candidates are paying attention. Your referral program is not just icing, it has an impact on the candidate experience. 

Since over 40% of candidates said that their friends were “very” or “extremely” responsive to digital referral requests, their networks are ready and waiting. It’s a win-win-win—ambassadors enjoy helping out friends and earning extra money, their networks are looking for opportunities, and you can help them both out while improving your relationships and your reputation.

Staffing is a people business. It runs on relationships. Every referral you get is ROI on relationships your team has already built. Why not cash in? 


About the author:

David Folwell is the president & founder of Staffing Referrals, the only automated referral management (ARM) platform designed for staffing firms. Their platform transforms your entire workforce into recruiters. By taking your referral program digital, you empower your brand ambassadors to spread the word about your company. Learn how Staffing Referrals customers get up to 57% more referral leads at staffingreferrals.com.