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HR ignoring an employee referrals?

Q. A friend of the family was interested and qualified for a finance position at the company my wife works for, and he asked my wife if she could pass his resume to the recruiter at her company. Five months have passed and there has been no contact from the recruiter or the hiring manager. My wife has been brushed off when she inquires and the role is not filled as of today.

Our friend is frustrated, and my wife is embarrassed. She has asked me if this is how human resources departments work. This is one area where HR people are getting a bad name and they can control it. Will they? Jobs need filling and people need jobs.

A. Employee referrals can be a highly effective way for organizations to find the right people for the right jobs. In a good economy many companies use employee referral programs as an incentive to current employees who refer high quality candidates that will fit into the culture. In the current economy, some employers have decided not to keep these bonus programs in place, but that shouldn’t stop employees from making referrals, or companies from paying attention to the candidates employees refer to the organization.

One of the most effective ways to make an employee referral is through an email introduction. And it may not be too late for your wife to try to get some attention from HR in this way. She should send an email to the hiring manager, the recruiter and the vice president of human resources, attaching your friends resume. In the email, she can copy the job posting, and address the personal characteristics your friend has which would make him a strong candidate. She might decide to copy or blind copy your friend so that he is totally confident she has done her part.

She should also ask both of them to get back to her about their reaction to the candidate and what the next steps might be – only so she can get back to the candidate. If they understand she will take the responsibility for rejection, they might choose to get back to her. If they are interested, they will move forward. Copying the vice president of human resources make the referral more visible, and will help your wife in case she doesn’t get a response.

Also, I encourage your wife and anyone making a referral to visit their offices, or make a phone call to the manager, and the recruiter to find out what to say to the candidate. It should be easier than this, but when people have too much to do, as most human resources people do, even important tasks fall through the cracks.

Candidates need to know that urgency to fill a specific job often comes and goes as competing priorities move in. Keep steady pressure on all your efforts in the most positive way. Frustration is such a huge part of the job search, and finding ways to keep it our of your professional presentation is a must. Continue to utilize employee referrals as one more way to build a successful job search strategy.

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