Seeking Referrals? First, Focus on the Candidate Experience!

In today’s job market, finding and engaging with passive talent is the name of the game. When it feels like all of the active job seekers are either being snagged too quickly by the competition or fall into the skills gap paradigm, hiring managers resort to seeking out passive talent and asking for referrals. While passive talent can be found on any number of job boards, the key here is to remember that in order to get good referrals, your candidates need to have a enjoyable and positive experience with the hiring process from the get go.

Let’s think about this from the candidate’s perspective. Typically, when we think of places or activities that we would recommend to someone we know, we do so because as an individual, we had a positive experience. Whether that means the food was excellent, the show was entertaining or the service was top notch, we want others to have the same positive experience as we did. The same can absolutely be said in the job market. Candidates are only going to refer their colleagues or acquaintances to a company or Recruiter if they feel the experience they had was a positive one. So how do hiring managers ensure that we have a pool of talent that we can garner referrals from? Simple, make a positive candidate experience a top priority for your hiring strategy.

Check out these simple and seemingly straight forward tips provided by to give your team the upper hand in creating a positive and welcoming candidate experience.

  1. Engage job seekers in enjoyable conversation. This seems like a no-brainer but surprisingly many hiring Managers and Recruiters tend to keep conversations with prospective candidates as impersonal as possible. Where there can be a benefit to keeping the candidate relationship like any other business transaction, there is also a huge downside. It is basic human nature to trust those that make you feel at ease. Having easy and light conversations with your candidates can instantly make them feel more comfortable around you. This can even be achieved through personalized emails. Try to communicate in a friendly manner and ensure the candidates that you are always looking out for their best interest.
  2. Respect the job seeker’s time. Time is valuable to everyone, including your job seekers. We all know how annoying it can be when we have an appointment set and it has to be cancelled or rescheduled last minute. If you make an appointment with a candidate, keep it. As you will be interviewing more and more candidates that are currently working elsewhere, it may be difficult for them to make the appointments or interviews in the first place so rescheduling or cancelling last minute can certainly put a bad taste in their mouth.
  3. Keep job descriptions consistent. It is important to provide as much information up front in a job description posted online as possible. However, whether you include everything in the online ad or not, you must stay consistent with job details throughout the entire process. The information provided online should reflect what is discussed in the interview and pre-screenings. If something with the job changes, update your ads accordingly. This way the candidate already has a really good idea of what to expect when the interview process starts and isn’t in for any surprises along the way.
  4. Respond clearly and within one week. Responding to candidates in a timely fashion may be the most important tip that is offered here. You have to remember that you are not the only person seeking out passive talent. It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that your candidate has actually been contacted by 10 or more companies at the same time you reached out. With that said, staying in touch with your candidate is imperative. In the two extra days it takes for you to offer them the job, your competition may have already swooped in. Basically, you need to land the candidate before your competitor does.

By following these tips to improving the overall experience of your prospective candidates, you will find it much easier to not only fill current openings but also to fill your pipeline with experienced and eager referrals.

The Trillium brand of companies is privately owned by René Poch and provides more than 30 years of industry leading recruitment and staffing services through its divisions including: Trillium Staffing, Trillium Construction Services, Trillium Driver Solutions, and Trillium Technical. With approximately 100 offices nationwide and nearly 400 internal recruitment professionals, the Trillium brand is proud to be recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts as a Top 25 Largest Industrial Staffing Firm in the U.S., a Top 100 Largest Staffing Firm in the U.S., a Top 100 Fastest Growing Staffing Firm in the U.S., and a 2017 and 2018 winner of National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. For more information please visit

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Carmen Hoover

Carmen Hoover has written 105 post(s) for Trillium Staffing.

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