Whether it’s fair or not, an employee referral is often the difference between getting your foot in the door of a company, or getting your resume thrown on the ‘ignore’ pile.
The New York Times posted an article on Sunday about this shift in hiring, using several large companies as examples. Referral programs are nothing new, but the trend has been to increase the number of new hires from referrals, at some companies up to 50 percent.
This seems to have the most negative impact on the long-term unemployed, as networks begin to shrink the longer a person is out of work. This is why it’s important to remain active in job clubs, volunteer activities, and coffee dates with former (and hoped for) co-workers. The more active a person remains in their network, the more likely they are to get that often necessary referral for their next job. LinkedIn and other social media tools are other ways to get involved and stay visible in the market.
Working with a recruiter can also be a great way to get your name in front of the right hiring manager without necessarily knowing someone already inside the organization. Recruiters often have long relationships with their clients, and as such, their judgement is trusted when recommending someone for a position.
Once you’re on the job, the ‘what you know’ side of things eventually takes over. But to get to that point, more and more it depends on who you know.