Monday, September 15, 2008

How do referral programs work?

There is a post on today about getting more bang for your buck out of referral programs on college campuses. If you aren't sure what a referral program is, here is how it works:
  • Your friend or family member works for a company that regularly disseminates job postings throughout the company--or they make a habit of checking an internal job board with offerings.
  • There is a notice that the employee will get a referral bonus if a candidate that they recommended for the position applies, interviews, receives an offer and accepts a job. The referral bonus is usually cash and can range from $50 to $2000, depending on the position and how hard it is to staff. (If you know anyone in nursing, they are bombarded with offers).
Just to be clear, the referrer gets the bonus, not the person that was hired--but once the new hire is on staff, they can start sending out postings to their friends and family.

If you are looking for work in special corporate library, or an information position with a corporation, you need to talk to your friends about where they are working and ask them to include you in the postings they send out to friends and family. If they don't know what you do, or what you want to do, explain what you are looking for. Take a look at their company's website and get an idea about the types of positions that they post by what you can definitely do and what you could kinda do.

There are a few reasons to be wary of these referrals: if you blow off the offer, will your friend be mad? Maybe. It could also take time for the bonus to pay out--up to six months in some cases, and usually not before your probationary period ends. But this is a good way to get job postings delivered to your in-box, and if it all works out, your friend might be very very happy. And you'll be employed.

Check out the H3 network to get an idea about how this service might work on the web. I received a recommendation to use this service from someone on LinkedIn, and though I haven't found anyone for a position, I am still hoping it might work for people in my network.

I also feel like I am referring people (I'm your really weak tie) to postings when I put up the Yahoo! Pipe for library jobs and the Career Jet widjet, though I don't expect any back scratching for it.

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