A Team-Builder’s Guide To Referral Hiring

Parker Chase-Corwin
8 min readOct 2, 2021

It’s not just about hiring great people. It’s about building trust and ownership in your team culture.

As hiring managers navigate both the retention and hiring challenges of today’s post-pandemic “Great Resignation,” there is an essential tool for team-building that often gets neglected: Referrals.

Referrals are win-win…win:

  • They work in favor of the hiring manager (because a trusted team member has put their reputation and success on the line by recommending their next teammate).
  • They work for the referrer (who has a role in shaping their potential future team by infusing it with colleagues they know they can work with).
  • They work for the candidate (who gains insider perspective on the company they are applying to, which lets them make the best decision possible on selecting their next gig).

Despite the seeming positives, referrals are often looked at as shortcuts…fast paths to accelerating the hiring process and securing your next employee. In reality, referrals should require more effort for the hiring manager because communication isn’t only with the candidate. A trusted teammate is also involved in the process.

Let’s face it: If you’re a hiring manager, there’s only so much you can learn about a candidate during interviews. Much like dating, everyone puts their best foot forward, and getting to the real person behind the résumé requires mining their social media-like filter to get to the goods.

Since your job is to recruit the best talent possible — keeping in mind skills, needs, and team dynamics — referrals (handled well) can give you a perspective beyond what the candidate and their CV typically present to you.

Hiring managers that neglect their referrals are doomed to no longer receive any.

Do you treat referral candidates differently than other candidates? If not, you should. Here’s how.

Before The Interview: Interview the Referrer

When a team member feels a sense of contribution, they feel more valued and more invested in the outcome. How you treat referrals sends a signal to your team about how seriously you take their recommendations…

Parker Chase-Corwin

Trifecta of separate-but-earned passions: 20-year veteran of Customer Success. Taller half of cohabimates.com. Captain UNplastic at unplasticnation.com.