Per Yahoo News, “key industries on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including e-commerce and healthcare companies, are facing a sudden increased need for workers, including some roles requiring specialized skills. Referral programs may be able to get the employees they need in the door.” 

Most of us have heard the stats associated with the benefits that employee referral programs provide companies – including significant cost savings. Fifty-five percent of companies in a new April 2020 study by Clutch say employee referrals have reduced hiring costs. But how can talent and employee referral programs ease the pains of hiring in this rapidly changing pandemic era? Here are four ways that employee and talent referrals can help you recruit more effectively in uncertain times.


#1. Referrals have faster hiring speeds, which is helping mitigate the fact that highly-skilled, in-demand candidates are taking even longer to hire due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and accompanying economic, political, and social injustice events. 


“Skilled candidates are more nervous about making a change in the last few months,” noted Mabel Lozano Lopez, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Clio. “2020 has presented a variety of new challenges for organizations and has created a lot of unknowns for prospective talent. This has resulted in candidates needing more time to understand the benefits of working for a new company. Culture remains key, and talent knows talent. If you can maintain a positive culture through changing times, your existing employees can share first hand the benefits of working for your organization and build that much needed trust with referred candidates.”

Ollie Smith, CEO of Card Accounts recently noted  that referrals have recently sped up his hiring process from the typical four to five weeks to as little as two weeks. This timing is crucial in an economic environment where a few days can literally make or break a company. 


#2. Talent Referral Technology can get the whole company sourcing for skilled talent.


Many recruiters are overwhelmed, down to a skeleton crew and dealing with higher levels of unqualified applicants. This scenario can significantly reduce recruiter sourcing time and impact the candidate experience. Talent Referral Technology such as can provide some assistance for recruiters as the technology enables not only the whole company, previous employees, clients, customers, etc., to source and refer candidates for open positions. Over time, this referral technology will also note which referrers tend to refer top-notch candidates allowing recruiters to prioritize whom to contact first.


#3. Referrals tend to be more forgiving of new remote-hiring processes.


Let’s face it, recruiting great skilled candidates is hard enough without less staff, pandemic stressors, and an entirely new remote interviewing process. Many remote interview processes have left candidates confused or angered as technical difficulties, late interviewers, and additional interview requests to account for a low signal are all typical outcomes of a new remote-hiring process. Referrals who already have a connection to the company through their referee can tend to be more forgiving and stick around. Thank goodness!


#4. Referral’s previous connections to the company are an antidote to remote-work loneliness.


Gitlab, a remote-first company has noted that without due care and effort, the onboarding experience for remote workers can feel “overwhelming,” or even a bit lonely.  And that doesn’t even factor in the stress of COVID-19. Since April 2020, over half of Apple, Intel, and Facebook professionals in a study by Blind voiced increased loneliness. And 50% of the Canadian population, according to Angus Reid, has claimed that their mental health has worsened due to the pandemic. Onboarding a referred candidate, however, has the potential to provide some ease in the first 90 days. Referrals can be a warm connection and provide much-needed insights into how the company operates for new hires. 

As the Yahoo article states, “overall, employee referral programs can save companies time and money on their recruiting needs.” And in this time of uncertainty and rapid change, referrals can provide companies looking for skilled top talent some much welcomed good news.