THE BLOG
05/08/2013 12:42 pm ET | Updated Jul 08, 2013

Combating Long-term Unemployment With Employee Referrals

The job market in the United States is like a roller coaster. Up some days, down the next. Steady on occasion. It can be a confusing ride for many employers, especially those looking to improve their operations by hiring great talent.

Despite these issues, many employers are hiring. In fact, the April Jobs Report indicated quite a few industries have added jobs, such as healthcare and professional and business services. However, we often find some hires aren't that great, cut and run after a short period of time, or just don't fit in. So, what are the best ways to find quality candidates to fill these jobs for the long-term? Look no further than employee referrals.

Employee referrals are essentially a vouch from a member of your network about a candidate. When utilized correctly, using employee referrals as a hiring strategy is a great way to combat long-term unemployment. Let's look at some reasons why.

Employee referrals are the number-one source of hire

Year after year, we find employee referrals are the number-one source of hire. In fact, employee referrals beat other recruitment methods including job boards, career sites, direct sources, and college recruiting. In addition, employees who are referred and then hired tend to stick around longer than those who are sourced through other methods.

Employee referrals are the number-one source of hire for a reason. First, you have an actual relationship with your internal and external network, meaning they care about your success. In addition, it's rare a referrer would risk their reputation by referring an unfit candidate. So, the actual source of your hires -- your network -- is a great place to source and then hire job seekers because they're coming from someone you trust.

How this helps long-term unemployment: You don't want to get your employees from just anywhere. You want to get them from a source proven to produce quality hires that stick around for the long-run. Referrals can do both, while keeping more professionals in their jobs.

Referrals utilize your entire network

Some hiring methods are limited to the platform you're using or the career fair you're attending. Employee referrals aren't like this. You open up the process to your entire network, not just your team members. This means your current employees, former employees, business partners, and your vendors can all be involved in the process.

Using your entire network can do a few things for you. First, you're going to receive those quality hires that can only be found through employee referrals. In addition, taking advantage of multiple networks means there will be more of those quality hires from which to chose. So, you will potentially gain some great employees, all with a variety of backgrounds and professional histories.

How this helps long-term unemployment: Your extended business network can refer great candidates because they know your company culture and understand your hiring needs. Subsequently, these factors can help keep more people employed because the right hires are being found by those who know you best.

It makes social recruiting simple

Studies have shown most employers use social networks to find candidates. This makes sense. Most people, whether they're active or passive in the job search, have some sort of social networking presence. Now, though, employers are able to utilize the social platforms of their entire network to find great workers.

For instance, social networks allow people who aren't engaged with the company on a day-by-day basis, but have a relationship of trust with it, to easily make high quality referrals without too much effort. Typically, this is done through an employee referral platform. All the referrer has to do is match the job requirements to a professional who has these requirements.

To make it even easier, there are platforms that automate the matching. The combination of referrals with the ease of social recruiting means better talent and employees who stick around longer.

How this helps long-term unemployment: In conjunction with referrals, social recruiting can actually reach more unemployed workers. When more job seekers are in plain view, it becomes easier for an employer to source and then hire the right employees who will stick around for the long- run.

Long-term unemployment is a huge issue these days. However, when you take advantage of employee referrals in your hiring process, you'll not only see the many advantages of the strategy, but also what the strategy can do for organization in a lasting, more permanent way.

What do you think? What are some other ways employee referrals can combat long-term unemployment?

Ziv Eliraz is the Founder and CEO of Zao, social employee referral management platform. Connect with Ziv and Zao on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.