6 Surefire Ways to Increase Referrals for Software Engineering Hires
REFERRALS FOR SOFTWARE
1ASK CURRENT EMPLOYEES
Your employees are your greatest resource in the referral game. After all, they
understand what you need. They also know who will ﬁt, both in terms of company
culture and skills level. Plus, they probably know other developers, either from
their university, professional organizations, or members of their network.!
One-on-one meetings with current employees are a great way to tap into
topics you wouldn’t normally get a chance to discuss. For example, think about
scheduling casual interviews with existing software engineering employees. In
these interviews, ask about their thoughts on your hiring process, their
personal experiences with it, and how they think it can be improved. At the
same time, you can also ﬁnd out if they know any engineering professionals
who would be a good ﬁt.
2SET UP AN
EMPLOYEE REFERRAL PROGRAM
Many referral recruitment softwares come with a variety of tools for organizing and
engaging talent -- past, present, and potential. Plus, plenty of these software
programs integrate with existing CRM or recruiting software to help you organize
job candidates’ cover letters and resumes. You can also keep track of the actual
referrers and engage in follow-up conversations at different stages of the hiring
There are three types of referral programs that create different results, particularly with
external engineering hires:
» Generic programs, those with ad hoc management, often produce 24-27 percent of
» Formally managed programs produce on average greater than 34 percent of their
organizations’ external hires
» Strategic programs, ones that prioritize jobs, link social media and mobile efforts, and
involve employer branding, now often produce 48 percent or more
The true employee referral program winner is obvious: Strategic programs allow you to
focus your resources on attracting top engineering talent, developers, and innovators.
Ultimately though, it’s up to you to chose the referral program that ﬁts best with your needs.
3CREATE DETAILED JOB DESCRIPTIONS
While they are important for any job opening, detailed job descriptions are particularly
vital when you’re looking for the right engineering candidates. For instance most software
engineering positions require specialized skills, a certain educational history, or levels of
certiﬁcation in order to be considered for the job. When your job descriptions are
complete with this information, you help your referrers to ﬁnd the right candidates, as
well as cut down on miscommunication and wasted time.
In addition to educational history and skills needed, job descriptions should include
the following: company information, position overview, application material
requirements, contact information, and details about the hiring process. This moves
the process a long, while bringing you the most qualiﬁed engineers for the job. !
4TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EMPLOYEE’S
Pairing social networking with referrals can further amplify the process. For example,
let’s say you have 50 employees at your software engineering ﬁrm, each with 200
friends on a social networking site like LinkedIn. That’s a total of 10,000 contacts to
potentially tap into for a job referral. Though not every contact will be relevant for
your open position, social networking can bring you closer to that superstar software
Your company can harness the power of social recruiting by encouraging existing
employees to share engineering openings on their personal or professional social
networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Then, you can
keep track of progress, such as which social networks bring in the most qualiﬁed
engineering candidates or which ones create more engagement.!
Mobile is the way the world is moving. With the advancement of
mobile technology comes the need for other tools to evolve, as well.
Employee referral programs must follow suit or risk falling behind. If
companies want to connect employees with the best engineering
candidates, they need to do so by utilizing the devices people use the
Here are a few tools you need to have in your referral arsenal:
» Mobile career sites: Since many referrals use tablets or smartphones to seek out
these opportunities, having a mobile compatible career site will ensure a smooth
» Mobile referral program applications: These applications allow employees to
access the referral program from their mobile devices, not just through an ofﬁce
computer or in-house operational system like an intranet. This is particularly helpful
for those employees who want to refer quality engineering candidates from outside
the ofﬁce, such as from a conference or networking event.
» Text and push notiﬁcations: Since your employees could have a lot on their plates,
they may not remember to check out job openings or refer engineering candidates
on a regular basis. Text and push notiﬁcations are key drivers that can assist your
employees to stay active and engaged in the referral process.
Rewards are not only a participation incentive -- they can also lead you to more qualiﬁed
Your ﬁrst thought may be to offer large cash rewards or bonuses for referrals that turn into
hires. While this is a good idea, small rewards and team rewards go much further than
occasional cash payment. Plus, when rewards for referred hires are large, there is a high
level of due diligence, as well as tax implications.!
Instead, create a rewards program that reﬂects your company, as well as one
that appeals to employees. The most successful employee referral systems
actually reward referrals, as opposed to hires. That is, you reward for effort.
These rewards can be small, such as subscriptions to software engineering
publications, professional development opportunities, a day off, public
recognition in the ofﬁce or social recognition online, an additional paid vacation
day, or even the opportunity to telecommute. !