June 14, 2022

What is peer to peer recruitment?

Let’s talk about Peer to Peer Recruiting.

Nabih Haidar

Let’s talk about Peer to Peer Recruiting.

In its essence, recruitment is fundamentally a human to human practice. We deal with people, their ambitions, their aspirations, and their fears as well. Ask any candidate, and they’ll tell you a caring recruiter makes a world of difference in their job-search experience.

On the other hand, caring recruiters seem to fall few and far in-between. To no fault of their own, recruiters are always asked to do more with less, naturally inhibiting any caring ethos. This is because today’s recruitment has some not-so-latent inefficiencies, which have largely affected how we go about our practice.

There is a clear disconnect between employers and job seekers.

For instance, 98% of employers believe enhancing the candidate experience — for those they hire and decline — could help enhance and protect their employer brand. Yet, 1 in 2 jobseekers have had a negative experience during a hiring process, and 50% of respondents had declined a job offer due to a poor experience. In other words, despite most hiring managers acknowledging the importance of a positive candidate experience, it still evades half of the candidates who apply regardless.

The hiring process is harder on either end. Employers very often take between one to four months to process a new hire, yet 30% of new hires resign within the first three months. This means that oftentimes employers spend considerable time sourcing, hiring, and onboarding; all for the new hire to resign, and the process needs repeating. These glaring inefficiencies highlight the broken, cyclical nature of current recruitment paradigms.

It feels as if recruiters and candidates are speaking different languages. The rift between expectations and reality seem to differ greatly on either side of the coin. For example, 72% of hiring managers claim they provide clear job descriptions, but just 36% of candidates agree. There is a misunderstanding from the get-go, which largely contributes to the inefficiencies of the coming hire. 93% of employers consider soft skills an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions, yet 77% of recruiters have hired a candidate who at first did not appear to be fit.

There are a lot of reasons behind this disconnect; but in the context of this piece, we’ll be looking at the problems with the candidate sourcing and screening processes.

A game of hide-and-seek

Candidate sourcing is quickly becoming a top trend amongst acquisition professionals. As 95% of employers say it’s difficult to find skilled professionals to hire, 68.1% of organizations have direct candidate sourcing as their top recruitment priority, and 65.7% of organizations have talent pool building as their top recruitment priority.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Building talent pools for future hiring needs is becoming increasingly important for organizations; as the sourcing process from scratch is time-consuming, expensive, and ineffective.

The Fix

Fixing recruitment sounds like a daunting task. Luckily, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we can do what’s already working.

Referrals are already a big part of recruitment. If we are to consider core issues of today’s recruitment, the solutions offered by referrals appear most relevant. For starters, 80% of jobs are not even posted online, which shows referrals’ instrumental role in recruitment.

That said, referrals are usually kept for departures, and not arrivals. In other words, outplacement is often reserved for furloughed employees; yet why not consider outplacing candidates? In this scope, instead of rejecting candidates, we’d be referring them to compatible opportunities to help them thrive.

Now, the idea of referring candidates could understandably be met with some pushback. Naturally, organizations worry that referring candidates equates to helping their competitors, but this argument has a considerable fallacy. Consider this; if you reject a candidate, odds are they’re applying to your competitors anyway. In other words, recruiters cannot expect loyalty from the candidates they themselves rejected.

On the flip side, assume recruiters referred their candidates instead of rejecting them. What would be the implications on the employer’s brand? How would this change their candidate experience? What rewards would they get for referring their candidates?

Needless to say, helping your candidates find jobs post-rejections carries an array of benefits for your brand. To know more about the relationship between referring and employer branding, I invite you to read our piece on How to turn rejected candidates into brand ambassadors.

Long story short, good news travels quickly, but bad news flies. The same applies to your brand’s perception during a candidate’s experience, as they often communicate their experiences to people (potential consumers) around them.

Let’s leave the conceptual, and look at the practical for a moment. Referrals reduce an organization’s time-to-fill, turnover rate, and improves the quality of a hire. Referred candidates are 55% faster to hire, as they have already been vetted by peers, and 88% of employers say that referrals are the best source of above-average applicants.

On the candidate side, 89% of talent contacted by their recruiter could make them accept a job offer faster. Note that candidates typically have to apply to at least 27 jobs to reach one interview, and it takes them on average 24 weeks to find a job. It often takes over 200 applications to land a job, as in isolation candidates have a mere 8.3% chance of getting a job interview from a single job application.

Now imagine a candidate who has gone through the entire application process, and instead of hearing nothing back, they get referred and not rejected. Instead of having to search for new jobs from scratch, they are presented with a similar opportunity at a similar organization. In this regard, your candidates will recognize you going the extra mile for them, and you’ll have an engaged passive talent pool to draw from when you see fit.

On the other hand, hiring referred candidates helps you save valuable resources when sourcing candidates. By hiring from your peers’ talent pools, you’ll be meeting candidates who have already been vetted by fellow recruiters. Peer to peer recruiting helps acquisition specialists find qualified candidates in less time through a collaborative paradigm.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Peer to Peer Recruiting in context:

The relevance of peer to peer recruiting grows more importance, especially if we were to consider the current top 5 recruiting priorities of acquisition professionals:

  • Improving the quality of a hire
  • Increasing the retention rate
  • Improving the time-to-hire
  • Growing talent pipelines
  • Diversity hiring

Considering the above, we’ve conceived an acquisition experience that aims to cater to recruiters’ professional needs. Vela presents your open positions to interview finalists who have been referred by acquisition specialists to opportunities similar to yours. Vela helps recruiters hire qualified finalists who are not just compatible to the opportunity, but to the company culture as well, for a better retention rate.

Peer to peer recruitment can greatly impact the quality, and time-to-fill of our hires. However, to assume that peer to peer recruitment extends only to hiring would be misguided.

When recruiters refer their finalists, they play an active role in their career ascension. By helping their candidates thrive, they build lasting bonds with their talent pools through positive and constructive candidate experiences. This helps recruiters build engaged and loyal passive talent pools, which they can draw from when their future hire needs call for.

At Vela, we take referrals one step further. When you refer a finalist to Vela, we’ll reward you with hiring credits when they join, and a commission when they get hired. Use Vela to grow your talent pipeline while earning ROI on your recruitment efforts, and reinvest where you see fit. Our platform offers an inclusive and agnostic acquisition experience to negate selection biases, so you can hire the right person for the right reasons.


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