When I set up my first recruitment business, I used to aim for around 20 referrals a week and encouraged my staff to use every phone conversation as a route to a new lead. The advent of social media has removed the need for recruiters to ask clients and candidates to refer anyone because they can use LinkedIn, Twitter and job sites to source candidates.
Despite this new reliance on social media, referrals are still a powerful tool and will lead to a more meaningful conversation with a new candidate. Opening a call with ‘Hi I’ve just seen your profile on LinkedIn’ will always lack substance when compared to ‘Hi, I’ve just been speaking to your colleague John who said you were one of the best architects he’d ever worked with…’.
Here are my top tips on how to ask for referrals as a valuable part of the recruitment process:
Ask the right questions
Don’t waste your time on the phone to candidates or clients by asking yes or no answer questions. Every question should have the impact to widen your network. This is especially important when asking for referrals. For example, instead of asking ‘do you know any good project managers’ you could ask, Who do you know who’d be a good fit for this opportunity? Or ‘Who’s the best project manager you’ve worked with over the years?’