Need Any More Proof? Job Referrals Are REALLY Important

You have heard this many times, I’m sure, but it never hurts to hear it again: job referrals are the best source of job candidates and new hires.

I’ve heard people like my friend Gerry Crispin and his partner Mark Mehler talk about this a lot, and you probably have too, but online recruiting platform Jobvite has just published its Jobvite Index 2012: Employee Referrals. The numbers, which analyze employee referral activity amongst Jobvite‘s 600-plus customers, shouldn’t be surprising, but they do help reinforce what we know about the value of job referrals.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 44 percent of new hires are employee referrals, more than double the industry standard.
  • Employee referrals get hired 55 percent faster than candidates from company career sites.
  • HR executives rated referrals the #1 source of quality candidates, ranking an 8.6 out of 10.
  • 69 percent of employers offer a referral bonus to employees.

The larger value of referrals

Some may quibble about these numbers — is Jobvite‘s universe of companies big enough to accurately reflect the larger trends that are going on? — but I think that’s besides the point since the issue in my mind is the reconfirmation of the larger value of referrals to the recruiting and staffing process.

It’s clear how important this is when Jobvite notes that, “Employee referrals help employers find new talent by broadening the reach for any opening. While an HR manager often has more than 500 contacts, getting more staff members involved in hiring exponentially improves the process. For example, if a company has 100 employees and each employee has an average social network of 150 friends, the potential reach for an open position becomes 15,000 people.”

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Jobvite is touting May as National Employee Referral Month (it’s also National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, and National Smile Month, in case you were keeping track), but what is most interesting is this in-depth informational graphic that digs into The Value of a Referral. It has a lot of good data worth digging into (to get a larger version that’s easier to read, simply click on it the graphic twice).

“All the data Jobvite’s collected shows employee referrals make the best hires,” said Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan in a press release announcing the latest Jobvite Index, and he’s absolutely right about that.

If you aren’t focusing enough on referrals as part of your recruiting process, well, you’re missing out on the very best way to build your future workforce.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.