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Why referrals are powerful job search tools

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Employee referrals are often thought to be the proverbial golden tickets of job seeking. While they don’t guarantee you a job, they can increase the odds that your application will be seen by a recruiter or hiring manager and ultimately give you a boost in the hiring process.

An employee referral is essentially an endorsement within a potential employer of you and your talents for a specific position. A person you know, such as an old colleague or former classmate, at the company is usually the one to offer the referral.

The referral can be informal — when a connection simply passes your name on to a recruiter or hiring manager as a good candidate. A referral can also be part of a formal program at a potential employer that awards the current employee if their candidate is ultimately hired.

“The reason that employers want to do a referral program is generally they get a better hire from that program,” said Shelley Piedmont, who is a career coach and former recruiter. “They’ll get somebody who is a good fit culturally,” she said. The referred candidates tend to know more about the company than others and — if hired — usually end up staying at the company for a long time. They also tend to know more about the company than other applicants.

All of those positive factors can result in a faster hire, which is very attractive to an employer because it can save them money in the long run.

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