Employee Referral Programs

tumblr_inline_mrsjezBw1K1qz4rgpOne of our most successful ways of finding great talent at digital-telepathy is through our employee referral program.  Many other companies and organizations also use employee referral programs, but we try and make ours really personal and exciting so that our team gets PUMPED to refer their friends!

Aside from being able to potentially work with your friend if they’re hired, our team members could receive a $2,500 bonus plus a unique gift!  That’s quite the incentive, is it not?  Our team loves this program and we’ve been able to explore a lot of great candidates from our own employees’ referrals.  One of the best things about the referral program is having the background knowledge and understanding of the candidate – before they even walk through the door!

Here’s how our program works: an employee refers a friend to our Manager of Company Culture (me), who reviews the application and sets up an initial interview.  We then interview said friend and take them through our hiring process.  If we make them an offer and they accept, they must work at digital-telepathy for three months.  After they’ve worked here for three months, we do something crazy and original and the prize is awarded! (Read about MK’s referral bonus here)


Not only is the referral program beneficial for our business here at digital-telepathy (who wouldn’t want great candidate leads straight from our talented staff?), it’s beneficial for the employees on our team too!  That $2,500 prize is hefty!  Motivating incentive for sure!

Just this past week, we awarded one of our team members, Brent, with the referral bonus, since he had referred one of his friends back in December.  Eric made his way through the digital-telepathy hiring process, and has been a wonderful addition to our team for the past three months as an Account Strategist!  Since the three months was up, it was time to award the prize – and we of course did so in traditional DT fashion!

raining (1)To craft a meaningful experience for Brent, I perused his favorite website (Bonobos) for some fab new clothes.  After having worked with Brent for the last year, I’ve become familiar with his style and ordered him two shirts that I knew he’d love.  Our GM (Laurence) and CEO (Chuck), handled getting the cash – they called the bank and had them order all $2,500 in two dollar bills!  I didn’t even realize they made those still!!

We usually grant our referral bonuses during team lunch, so everyone can partake in the celebration, and this instance was no exception.  Once everyone was done eating, we gave Brent his gift, which he excitedly opened to find the shirts.  Although he was probably wondering where his $2,500 was, he gushed over the shirts and gave Laurence and Chuck the moment they needed to position themselves to give him the money.  They “made it rain” from our second-story balcony all over the lunch table.  Brent danced around under the falling money, it was hilarious!  (I hope you enjoy the GIF, I crack up laughing every time I see it).

Not only did Brent get some cash to line his pockets (lots of bills when your $2,500 prize is granted in $2 bills), but digital-telepathy won, as well, with Eric joining our team.  Our employee referral bonus is truly a win-win and has been very successful for us thus far!

More Ideas

Aside from a referral program, there are additional tricks you can use to increase applicants in times of dire need.  In December, we had a bunch of positions to fill, so we created a “promotion” for our team to increase our amount of employee referrals.  During the month of December, we offered everyone $100 per referral candidate that landed an initial interview.  If the referred employee passed our initial screening process and we set up the first interview, they were given $100 in cash.  We received a bunch of great application leads and some of our employees made out like Banshees – when all was said and done Brent got $500!

In Conclusion

Finding the right fit for your team can be a challenge – believe me, I know!  So using little tips and tricks like promotions or employee referral programs can really step your game up.  Instead of just having one hiring manager on the hunt, you could potentially have your whole staff searching for that perfect fit.

What are some incentives that you’ve seen work in increasing a potential candidate pool?  Have any of the companies you’ve worked for given an employee referral bonus?  Have you worked for any companies that have done something different or original?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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One Response

  1. Ellen

    I wanna work there!!! Sounds like a great system — obviously works — and if you ever need a long-distance editor (can’t move to San Diego : ), think of me!

    Looking forward to seeing you in June!


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