• How to Handle Executive Referrals

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    May 14, 2014

    Many university relations and recruiting (URR) professionals struggle to maintain the integrity of their recruiting efforts when senior executives refer candidates for internship and full-time positions.

    How can you manage such referrals? URR professionals who have faced the same challenge have some recommendations, based on what works for them:

    • Determine up front what the expectations are. Are you expected to hire the executive’s referrals? Or screen them?
    • Have a process in place for managing all referrals, and communicate it. Don’t handle each referral as a unique case.
    • As part of your process, use a referral form that does not allow for anonymous or casual referrals. Ensure that the person making the referral takes ownership of his/her referral. In addition, your form should require a time commitment from the person; a form that takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete can provide you with some of the information you need to assess a candidate’s suitability and will weed out casual referrals.
    • Develop special events just for referrals. For example, invite referrals to take part a two-day event as opposed to a full-blown internship experience.
    • Set policy: Referrals have to go through the standard process for candidates. All follow up is with the referred candidate, not with the person making the referral. Referred candidates can’t be hired into the referrer’s area.

    Of course, you may want or need to provide high-level executive referrals with some “extras.” For example, for these special cases, your process could include phone screens and in-person interviews.