Why Employee Referrals Help Fill Niche Positions

  • Added:
    Jul 28, 2014
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Why Employee Referrals Help Fill Niche Positions Photo by Savio Vadakkan

A 2013 survey by Towers Watson on recruitment trends and challenges found that one of the biggest challenges reported by organizations (a good 54% reported the same issue) in recruiting was related to attracting talent with niche or critical skills in the organization, despite rising unemployment. A good 37% out of the 54% also had problems attracting high performers to the organization.

These challenges are not new and there have been various innovative recruitment practices adopted by companies to try and attract high in demand or niche talent to the organization. The most effective by far has been the use of employee referral programs due to the strong trust factor that comes into play when an employee is anchoring the discussion with the candidate rather than a recruiter.

Infact employee referrals work remarkably well for niche positions since such candidates are more easily accessed through professional forums. Employees through their prior links with these candidates are better placed to contact them for job openings within the organization. The receptivity level among such candidates is also typically higher when somebody they know discusses a job opportunity vis-à-vis talking to an unknown person. Employees from the same professional area typically are better able to connect with them as coming from similar backgrounds they understand their priorities and concerns better.

The general trend in the last couple of years has been to offer higher rewards for employee referrals for niche or hard to fill positions. Incentives are made attractive to add that extra pull to make it worthwhile for employees to invest the extra time and effort to source candidates for niche positions.  The most popular incentives for niche positions include tablets, laptops, a fully financed overseas trip and sometimes even appraisal points where the need to fill a niche position is extreme. Cognizant’s employee referral program for instance also called “BAY” offers incentives like a new car, an overseas vacation or even double the referral amount every quarter to employees who help fill niche and critical positions.

The best thing about going through employee referrals to fill niche positions is the fact that employees can help identify and access passive candidates who are not actively seeking a job change but have the skill sets needed to perform the role. This can come in extremely handy for employees who would otherwise have to pay headhunting fees for the same which is a fairly expensive proposition.

It is best to focus the referral program for niche positions only on employees who are in a position to know people with these niche skills to avoid referral spamming.

Author's Profile

Savio Vadakkan is the Marketing Representative at ZALP -The No.1 Employee Referral Tool used by industry leading organizations. ZALP enables organizations to build a completely automated and social media integrated employee referral program to help boost their employee referral hires.

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