Real Stories from Real Recruiters: The Power of Candidate Referrals

This article is Part 5 in a series of “Real Stories from Real Recruiters.” We check in with several Brightwingers to reveal some important lessons for anyone who’s looking either for talent or for opportunities. This story is from Brightwing’s Adriana Michaels, Senior Recruiter.


Referrals really are one of the most powerful sources of top-notch candidates. When you take the time and energy to build great relationships with every candidate, they won’t hesitate to refer their friends or family members who are seeking new opportunities.


I’ve read many studies that explain the value of referrals. In particular, this study from Jobvite shows that even though referrals make up just 7% of total applicants, they account for almost half of all hires. Plus, they’re usually a better fit and stay with a company longer than other candidates. It’s why Brightwing has an amazing referral program, BrightSHARE, to help build a rich network of strong candidates.


It’s my personal experience with referral candidates that really makes these truths hit home, and is why I am personally dedicated to every referral that is sent my way. Every candidate I speak to, whether they are a referral or not, is an opportunity to build a relationship and make the perfect match (see our BRIGHTview process).


I feel an extra level of commitment to nurturing the relationship when I know someone trusted me enough to refer them. This is exactly what happened when a candidate I placed reached out to me six months later to help his recently graduated son.


The father was a candidate I had recruited and supported through a long client hiring process, engaging and collaborating with him to make the best possible match. We had built a solid relationship, so I was honored when he referred his son. I was immediately committed to understanding this candidate and going above and beyond to help him. The pressure was on!


Because the son was a recent graduate, he had limited interviewing experience, which was definitely a hurdle to landing an offer. He was super smart, technically proficient, and clearly had the skills to succeed. But after three interviews, I was surprised to hear negative feedback from several hiring managers.


While some recruiters may have given up after three unsuccessful interviews, my relationship with both him and his dad solidified my belief that he could still succeed. He had the talent to be a stellar employee – if we could get past this interview barrier. I went back to the clients he interviewed with to ask for more specific feedback, and then brought him into the office to coach him on his interview technique and build his confidence.


In the end, I set him up with a company where I just knew he’d be the perfect fit – both technically and culturally. He aced the interview and the client quickly made him an offer. In fact, he’s still with the same company to this day.


In most cases, referrals end up being a great fit for our clients, making me all the more committed to nurturing these connections. The success I’ve seen placing referred candidates into positions where they’ll thrive is a testament that I’m doing meaningful work and really making a difference in people’s lives.


Watch out for more of our “Real Stories from Real Recruiters” by following us on LinkedIn. We’d love to share more of our insight with you – dig deeper into our process here.


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