200 Words: Gathering Referrals

Got asked recently (not the first time btw) on how a company can increase its output of referrals to candidates. My response was longer than 200 words, but consider this:

15 years ago, we really only had verbal referrals. Specifically, a person would talk to another and ask them “who do you know…”. Of course we used letters and physical mail to also communicate those intents, as well as fax. But mainly picking up the phone and dialing was how you got a referral from someone you did not know.

Today, we also have visual referrals. Its exactly as it sounds – without using our voices, we ask for referrals to people who we can then connect with. Using postal service is a rarity, but there is email, LinkedIn, social networks, text messages, and so on – all visual only tools that allow us to ask the question “who do you know?” Then poof, a name pops up. Back in the day, I will send an email to a distribution list, now I can simply place a short-link in a LinkedIn status and hope for the best.

A combination of both verbal and visual is being done now. Before you start to try to increase your results, I suggest doing a straw poll on how much verbal you do, and how much visual you do. To increase effectiveness you may need to simply change the percentage of each, rather than increase effort.

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