This post was originally published on LinkedIn on April 8, 2014.

Today, Meritage Talent Solutions released our 2014 Trends in Referral Programs report.  We Slide1uncovered that employers are tapping into their employees’ social networks and extending their employee referral programs to non-employees in order to compete for top talent.

The nationwide survey of over 100 large and small employers showed that:

  • Almost one third of companies planning to launch referral programs will use third-party software with social referral features instead of relying on traditional applicant tracking system solutions
  • Those companies that rated themselves most satisfied with their referral solutions overwhelmingly (63 percent) used third-party software with social referral features
  • 22 percent of those with referral programs in place already include non-employees in those programs, and 45 percent of those planning to launch new referral programs will include non-employees in their programs
  • Non-employees most desired as referral sources include company alumni, customers, social media connections and vendors
  • Of those who currently offer cash incentives for referrals, 69 percent offer $1,000 – $5,000. Of those who currently offer non-cash incentives, most popular incentives include prize drawings (54 percent), company logo items (27 percent) and time off/vacation days (15 percent).

Over the past few years, several companies have entered the referral solution space to provide technology to manage social referral programs.  Those providers most mentioned in our survey include: Careerify, ChoozerJobs, GooodJob, JobVite, ReferralLink, RolePoint, TalentVine, Zalp and Zao.

While employee referrals have typically been a top source of candidates for most companies for many years, our research indicates that innovative companies are enhancing their programs to better compete for talent.

Is your company doing anything unique with your referral program?  Please share it in the comments below.

You can review the full details of the research in our 2014 Employee Referral Trend Report.  I’ll also be providing more details of our findings on my this blog over the next 2-3 weeks.




About Kara Yarnot

Kara founded Meritage Talent Solutions to provide tailored talent acquisition solutions to employers and employment services companies. Kara has over 17 years of leadership experience in talent acquisition and recruiting for several FORTUNE® 500 organizations, including Boeing, Intel, and SAIC.

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