How your employee referral process could be costing you valuable candidate leads

Tawfiq Abu-Khajil
December 3, 2023
2 min read
What are Candidate Leads?
Candidate leads are potential hires who haven't applied for a job but have shown interest in a company making them re-engageable for recruitment.

Today, most companies have their employee referral process via the “How did you hear about us?” application field – where candidates (while completing their applications) place their source as a “referral” and then list the name of the employee who referred them. 

Here’s why I believe this approach is costing organizations to lose valuable candidate leads that they don’t even know about.

Only captures referrals who apply

Industry data shows that an average of 7–10% of job description visitors end up applying. There’s no data specifically for referred visitors but for the benefit of the doubt, let’s bump that number to 25% for those. 

So, out of every 4 people who are told by their friend (your employee) to check out a job at your organization, 1 person ends up applying. As for the other 3, you never even get to know about them. They simply visited your job description, glimpsed through the role information, and didn’t apply – and you never captured their information for re-engagement.

Which brings me to my next point. 

No room for nurturing

The hardest-to-find applicants are passive candidates, not active. For instance, nurses, caregivers, physical therapists, truck drivers, HVAC technicians, are all comfortable at their current organizations. For you to be able to attract those, your organization needs to be on top-of-mind when they decide to explore what’s out there. 

Being able to capture candidate leads is a crucial source for your re-engagement pipeline – and the issue with the “How did you hear about us” referral process is that it only captures referred applicants, not referred leads. 

“Oh, but we have a referral form” 

Some of you might be reading this and thinking “Oh, but we have a referral form which allows our employees to give us basic information about their referral – who we can then nurture and engage even without them applying”. Here’s the two biggest problems with that approach.  

You may get sued

Yes, legal liability. The fact that the candidate never gave you permission to store their information or contact them means that under privacy laws, you are not allowed to re-engage them until they have explicitly given you permission to do so. In this case here, it was your employee who provided you with the candidate’s information and not the candidate themselves. 

Bridging me to my next point.

Recruitment Scams 

Some of you might say “Well, once the employee submits the referral form, an automated email/text goes out to the candidate for them to apply or accept the referral”. Here’s the issue with that. Recruitment scams are on the rise. Most candidates will ignore (and even block) an email or text message coming from an automated email address or phone number they don't recognize. This also applies to employee referral tools that have a similar user experience. 

A solution?

Yes, there is a solution: an employee referral platform that allows your employees to generate a unique referral link – which they personally share with their friend – and which then allows their friend to explicitly provide basic contact information to your organization, without having to submit a full application. An example of such a platform would be Eqo

See how Eqo can help you avoid losing valuable candidate leads

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Eqo - Employee Referral Tool