What Is A Job Referral And How Can You Ask For One?

Job seekers are often encouraged to use job boards and submit resumes to numerous job postings to improve their chances of getting noticed. However, a more effective approach is to connect with a current employee at the company where you wish to work and politely ask if they would be willing to provide an internal referral for the desired job. An employee referral involves an existing staff member endorsing a candidate for an open role, often as part of an incentivized organizational referral program. Some companies offer incentives for internal referrals, such as cash bonuses, gift cards, or extra vacation days, to motivate employees to recommend top-tier candidates from their social networks.

Candidates who are referred by an internal employee and come with high praise are highly valued, often experiencing a significant advantage in the recruitment process due to the "halo effect." Referred candidates have a much higher likelihood of securing a job interview, compared to non-referred candidates. In fact, over 60% of recommended candidates are ultimately hired. Additionally, referrals from director-level employees have an even higher success rate, with 91% of such endorsements resulting in a hire. According to Lauren Smith, co-founder and CEO of Refer, a platform that facilitates company incentivization of networks, and individual rewards for referrals, a referral offers a strong validation of a candidate's capabilities and character.

Furthermore, candidates who are referred by employees are proven to be better cultural fits and have longer tenures within the company, as per Radancy, a talent acquisition software provider. The cost of providing bonuses for internal referrals is also significantly lower for the company than the cost of using third-party recruitment services.  

Where You Can Find A Job Referral And How To Ask

To request an employee referral, you can reach out to your existing network via an in-person meeting, phone call, email, or LinkedIn. This includes your former co-workers, peers you have built close business relationships with over the years, friends, acquaintances, current colleagues, college alumni, and members of your church, temple, mosques, or other organizations you are a part of.

You will want to tailor your approach depending on how close you are with the individual. For someone more of an acquaintance, your “ask” should be a more formalized LinkedIn message or email.

Template For Asking A Mutual Friend

Here is a template you can use if a friend or close connection has a contact at your desired company.

Subject: Exciting Job Opportunity at [Company Name]

Hey [Friend's Name],

I hope you're doing well! I recently came across a job posting at [Company Name] that I think would be a great fit for my skills and career goals. I'm reaching out to see if you might be able to help me with a referral.

I noticed that you have a connection with [Target Name], who is a [Target's Job Title] at [Company Name]. I believe that having a referral from you would significantly increase my chances of securing an interview.

To make the referral process as easy as possible for you, I have prepared the following:

  • A brief summary of my qualifications and experience relevant to the position: [Include two to three key points that demonstrate your fit for the role.]
  • My tailored résumé: [Attach your résumé or provide a link to it on your LinkedIn profile or a cloud storage service.]
  • My LinkedIn profile: [Provide a link to your profile, so they can easily find more information about you and your professional background.]

If you're comfortable with providing a referral, I would greatly appreciate it. If not, I completely understand and hope it doesn't affect our friendship. Either way, thank you for your time and consideration.

Looking forward to catching up more the next time we meet!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Template For Asking An Acquaintance

Here is a template you can use if an acquaintance works at your desired company, or can at least make an introduction.

Subject: Request for Referral - [Job Title] Position at [Company Name]

Dear [Contact's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am reaching out to seek your assistance with a professional matter. I recently came across an exciting job opportunity that I believe aligns well with my skills and experience. The role is for a [Job Title] at [Company Name], and I am eager to explore the possibility of joining their team.

Given your insights and expertise, I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide a referral or introduce me to the appropriate individual at [Company Name] who could further discuss the role with me.

I have attached my résumé for your reference, and I am more than happy to provide any additional information that may be helpful. Your support in this matter would be invaluable to me, and I am truly grateful for your consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to review my request. I look forward to the possibility of connecting further and discussing this opportunity.

Warm regards,

[Your Full Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

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