How Much More Reliable Is an Employee-Referred Candidate?

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Trust, as every great recruiter knows, serves as the basis for good business, but does the trust factor work against the third party recruiter?

This isn’t just to save on recruiting fees – it’s also about “getting the band back together.”

Yes, at least according to VC Mark Suster. He says employee-referred candidates are 10 times more reliable than so-called ‘perfect candidates’ on paper.

I’m not ready to yield to Suster’s “10 times” factor. That’s a big number. Over the years at TempWorks, I’d put my employee referred candidate success rate at over 90 per cent. With non-referred candidates (‘great on paper’ candidates) the percentage is much lower, say 60 per cent.   That’s a big difference, about 1.5 times more reliable. But far short of Suster’s “10 times.”

Here’s the full quote from Suster:

I would take a strong employee referral from an existing employee I trust 10x over a person more qualified on paper (given similar skill levels). It’s not just the trust, but the camaraderie and the ability for teams to perform more than individuals. It also has to be said that bad apples on teams bring down productive even if that person is individually a superstar. Many teams pay bonuses to employees who bring in people they know. This isn’t just to save on recruiting fees – it’s also about “getting the band back together.”