Cheating The Referral Hire System

I read this blog post the other day that basically explains how to cheat the referral system.

To summarize, the post lays out the tactic of discovering which companies have referral programs, then contacting an employee of one of those companies saying "want to make a quick buck?" Yep, conspire and fake a reference so you get a job and the other person gets paid.

To quote Ron Burgundy, "I'm not even mad. I'm actually impressed."

What the post did remind me of was that no one method of hiring is foolproof. Despite the reality that referral hires are the most successful sources of new candidates (46% of companies would say this) and that typically referral hires perform better and stay longer than any other source of hire; you're going to have people take advantage of the other fact that 1 in 5 referrals get hired. Those are good odds.

So what's the lesson in all of this? You need a multi-layered recruiting strategy. Don't just rely on referrals. Don't just rely on job boards. Explore all the avenues that make sense for your company. Having objective screening tools in place can also help a great deal. Even asking a few simple questions to referrals/referrees to make sure their stories line up will help.

Have you ever felt like your referral system was being "gamed" by people?

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