Finding Strong Candidates: Referrals

To keep your staffing business going strong, you need to find the best possible members of two groups: clients and candidates. Clients, you often have to track down, but candidates tend to come to you, especially in these high-unemployment times. But how do you find the strongest candidates?

This is the first post in a seven-part series over the next few weeks sharing tips for finding the diamonds in the rough of your waiting rooms.

We’re leading off with one of the most obvious sources of great candidates: referrals.

Just as the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth, the best leads for candidates can come from referrals. A referral takes a candidate from an unknown property to a person with a connection to someone you already know and/or work with.

However, not all referrals are created equal. For one thing, the source of the referral should be someone you respect, and they should be referring someone who’s not related to them. Even if the source is impeccable, if they’re referring their cousin’s son, what’s his name, that’s not such a great referral.

Also, the connection between refer-er and refer-ee (not the kind in black and white stripes) should involve something work-related. The source should have been in a position to know something about the candidate as a worker (including as a student or volunteer).

And finally, keep ulterior motives in mind. Referral programs can deliver some great people to the company, and financial rewards to the refer-ers, but they can also generate some lackluster candidates that you have to review and vet. When someone has a financial interest in your hiring their referral, their judgment might not be as sharp as yours.

In the coming weeks, we’ll look at other tactics for finding the best possible candidates. If you have any questions or suggestions, just let us know in the comments!

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