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Employee Referral.3


(April 26, 2006) The "conversation" about referral systems is pretty dense stuff. Cherry picking the various postings, you can find
Dave Lefkow, from Jobster saying:

Fact is, people bring their connections and contacts from their personal world -- wherever that is. Diverse candidates in particular - often because of a fear of discrimination, a desire to relate with others they work with and to ensure that their opportunities are not limited - most often use their personal contacts to find jobs and like to see diversity support networks and mentors in place. This has turned up in every survey and focus group I've done with companies looking to increase the diversity of their workforce.

Starbucks is a great example of a company that is capitalizing on this. Through a Web based diversity initiative powered by Jobster,  Starbucks drove broad awareness of diversity issues, identified thousands of diverse prospects faster than ever before, and pulled 100+ diverse candidates into their hiring loop while building relationships with thousands more for future hiring needs (source ahead of demand). Another major retailer we work with is targeting their employee networks with Jobster campaigns in an effort to target market opportunities to more diverse candidates, get referrals and recommendations and build the company talent network.

Read closely, Lefkow appears to be contradicting himself. He says that "diverse" candidates "bring their connections and contacts from their personal world" which can increase diversity by netting more people like those candidates. Effectively used, in other words, ethnic minorities can help a referral system produce more ethnic minorities in your workforce.

Hans Gieskes echoes Lefkow's sentiments when he says:

They can do both (improve or undercut diversity...ed), depending on how the recruiter manages the tool. I don't think employees in general want to abuse referral programs to pursue their personal vision of diversity, as they realize that every unqualified candidate they bring forward could damage their reputation with their employer.   Some of our customers consider using higher rewards for candidates that would improve their diversity hiring record.

Sadly, and obviously, the inverse is true. Without a focused effort to control the referral process, it will produce "more of the same". While this is tremendous for a company with a perfect workforce and a perfect diversity track record, most firms are in an improvement mode in both arenas.

It's an interesting moment to remind you about the "great discrimination debate". While we can assure that very little will be actually debated (all of the participants are diversity advocates and it would not be very PC to entertain an opposing view), the event itself is worth witnessing. It will be something like a town hall meeting featuring Directors and Deputy Directors of The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Kevin Wheeler, John Younger and a couple of California based Recruiters. The subject will be the new EEOC guidelines. Registration is free for the webinar or the event itself (in San Francisco). It's May 4th from 11 to 12 PST.

If you go, ask the "debaters" whether or not referral systems are thought to bias diversity program results and what monitoring, reporting and corrective actions might be required.

If you are trying to catch up on the conversation about referral systems, we recommend reading the material in the following order:

  1. The original questions about referral systems
  2. Hans Gieskes (H3) responses.
  3. Our summary of H3 and Jobster responses
  4. Jason Goldberg's (Jobster) answers
  5. Eric Yoon (Job Thread) takes a whack at the questions
  6. Dave Lefkow's opening salvo: Referrals and Diversity
  7. Lefkow: Referral System Best Practices
  8. Lefkow: Some Actual answers

 

 John Sumser . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler


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