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Businesses expanding their referral programs

Incorporating recruiting policies into employee reward programs is an effective way to maintain a steady flow of applicants that may be a good fit for an organization.

The U.S. economy is slowly showing signs of improvement with 175,000 new jobs created in May. Businesses that are hiring are finding that relying on traditional recruiting practices is no longer sufficient to locate the right applicants. A study by Zao.com found that more organizations are expanding their referral programs to identify new talent.

Incorporating recruiting policies into employee reward programs is an effective way to maintain a steady flow of  job candidates who may be a good fit for an organization. Employees are motivated to recommend qualified associates with the desire to perform from the onset. Studies have shown that hires from referrals are more productive and less likely to quit than those found through online searches and other means.

To capitalize on the benefits of referral programs, more companies are turning to business partners, vendors and other trusted sources. The Zao.com study found that 41 percent of recruits came from non-employees, and incentive programs can boost this even higher. When rewards are extended to contacts outside of an organization, recommendations jumped 69 percent. 

"When many organizations look for quality hires, they typically look internally for referrals," said Ziv Eliraz, founder and CEO of Zao.com. "However, we found that limiting the referral process to only current employees is a mistake. In fact, our data shows that when a company extends its referral program to its trusted business network, the quality and the amount of referrals increases."

Despite the advantages of referral programs, there are several common mistakes that employers make in the hiring process, according to The Huffington Post. Once a potential candidate is identified, businesses need to move quickly to make a decision. Failing to keep applicants informed is one of the more common mistakes HR departments make. Technology has made it easier to provide updates on resume reviewing procedures, but companies shouldn't become too reliant on software to narrow candidates. The reason that referral programs work is that employees understand the qualities that their organizations are looking for. Using applicant tracking systems can slow down the process and resulting in missed opportunities.

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