Sunday, February 5, 2012

Referral Pool

Ever hear about someone getting a job cause they knew someone who already had a job there?  This may seem unfair, but it’s a fact, and one I need to get better at taking advantage of.  Many big companies have a referral program, some system through HR that let’s employees submit a friend’s resume with some nice words about what a rockstar they are.  These get immediate priority in many of these systems.  I was unfamiliar with this system, and actually found that several of my employed friends were unaware of the system in place as well.  But, once I asked them to look into it, they found it was pretty easy to add me to the referral applicant pool- which is way better then the suckers-who-applied-via-job-boards pool.  Some companies even offer a referral bonus to the employee- and that’s in addition to the cold one you’ll buy them when you get a job.

At smaller companies (>1000 employees), there may not be a formalized system, but there is still the option for an employee to forward a resume to HR, or to request a specific person’s resume from HR.  I haven’t entirely figured out how to take best advantage of this behind the scenes stuff, but knowing it is there is huge.  At least it explains why I’m not getting a lot of calls back about my resume: sucker-pool.


  1. Hi Sandlin-
    Love your blog. You've inspired me to follow your story during my own job hunt. I've also been toying with learning to code and I'm going to start today with the Codeacademy!
    I know a few people at different pharma companies that probably wouldn't mind submitting my name to the referral pool. Any advice on how to approach them?

  2. Thanks Shannah! I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

    Approaching an acquaintance about a referral feels pretty forward, so try to leave them an easy way to say no (or not immediately, or only for a job you really care about), while at the same time trying to gauge whether they know about the referral system or not. I imagine most companies run their system slightly differently. But be brave, and just ask!

    Good luck with your job hunt- I'd love to hear what works for you!