By Diane Stafford
The Kansas City Star (MCT)
It’s hard to job-hunt alone.
You can click your computer mouse for hours on end, but your applications will have trouble fighting through the competition clutter.
Unless you have contacts in your target companies who will recommend you.
I recently was on a panel with three employers who agreed that internal referrals are excellent vehicles to obtain interviews.
Hiring is time-consuming and expensive. Employers have found they cut time and costs - and zero in on better candidates - if they pay attention to people referred by their existing employees.
A study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that referred candidates were twice as likely to get interviews and 40 percent more likely to be hired than candidates without inside advocates.
Some of the nation’s largest companies even have special teams to fast-track internally referred candidates through the hiring system.
Admittedly, this can be troublesome for job hunters who have been unemployed for a long while or who are changing careers and don’t know people in their target field or company.
But it’s not an insurmountable problem if you remember the first sentence of this column. You may not think you know someone who can help you, but you might be surprised whom you can find.
Use that “six degrees of separation“ idea. Use LinkedIn. Use professional association meetings to find people in your target area. Use the mutual help available in job clubs. Make it part of your job hunt to get to know people where you want to work.
You might be surprised how eager some employees will be to help you. Many employers offer employee incentives to recommend candidates. Many give referral bonuses and other perks to employees who suggested a successful hire.
Those incentives can range from a chance to win a movie ticket to several hundred dollars if the recommended candidate is hired and performs well after 90 or so days on the job.
It’s a win-win-win that works.
Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at The Kansas City Star. Her “Your Job“ blog at economy.kansascity.com includes daily posts about job-related issues of wide interest. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or by email at dstaffordkcstar.com.