I have to say, I love the phrase ‘A War for Talent’…. and let’s face it, the phrase hits the nail squarely on the head doesn’t it?. With thousands of recruiters all fighting over the same top talent it’s essential to broaden your talent sourcing streams now more than ever before.

We have all heard of candidate referrals – Generating more good candidates from the ones that you already have. But how many of us actually see impressive results from it? I’m guessing it’s a relatively small number.

Statistically speaking ‘Refer a Friend’ schemes have approx a 3 – 4% success rate. Here are a couple of reasons why it doesn’t work and how to improve your technique:

  1. Open up the Network – The word ‘friend’ will indicate that it is a close pal of theirs that you are looking to help. By using the word ‘friend’ we are actually narrowing down the search that the candidate will do through the ‘Rolodex’ (sorry for any post 90’s people reading!) in their heads in order to find a suitable person… If we open them up to considering a larger pool of people, we stand a better chance of them thinking of a suitable person.
  2. Open up the question – Let’s not ask ‘Do you have any friends who want a job?’. Firstly this is a closed question and will probably lead to a closed answer. Secondly we used the word friend which we know limits the list of people that they will trawl through in their brains. Thirdly we asked for friends who were ‘looking’ for a job – Which equates to about 20% of the population who are active jobseekers…. So what are the chances of one of their friends, in a relevant position, looking for a new job? Not much I would say..

How about we open the question up like this – ‘I’m aware that you must know a lot of other great (insert job title here) from your time in the Industry. Tell me, who do you or network with who may be open minded to considering a career move at some point in the near future and might be worth me having an ‘off the record’ chat with to see if we might be able to help them?’. Now there are loads of ways change that question and make this sound more like you, but this is a pretty straightforward example of using language to significantly improve your chances of success.

I’m not going to dissect it as that would take forever, and hopefully you can clearly see the (a) Flattery (b) Open question (c) Language plays at work. But what are the chances now of this person be able to think of someone in a relevant position from any point in their professional career, who may not necessarily be actively looking but would be open minded to a chat that could enhance his career, at some point in the near future? Bearing in mind that approximately 75% of the population would be open minded to hearing about new opportunities, we have just significantly improved our chances of getting one or more names by just changing the language that we use.

This subject is a minefield so I will be posting more blogs on this subject over the next few weeks, but for now – Happy referral hunting!