Job Referrals vs. Recruiters – How to Get the Best Job

By Sophia Wong – Associate Consultant, Human Resources & Administration, Links International Hong Kong

During my career in recruitment, I have encountered many candidates who told me that they preferred to find jobs via internal staff referrals, such as from friends or ex-colleagues, for example.

However, people tend to ignore the downsides to internal referrals, or discover the negative side to this towards the end of the application process, and almost all of them have regretted their decision.

So, what are the major differences between internal referrals and using a recruitment service?

  1. Sometimes, the truth is hidden because of the referral fee.

Who do you think is going to give you the more comprehensive information regarding the structure of the company, the line manager and the current situation of the team?

At this point, I am confident to say that recruiters have a far better standing with a more neutral perspective, since recruitment consultants always have more than one position to share with you and will assist you to choose a position that will benefit your long term career goals.

However, if you join a company as a result of an internal referral (whether it is from your ex-boss, ex-colleagues or friends), they often tend to provide biased information, for example about the culture of the team. They also have limited access to the flexibility of the hiring budget and requirements.

Nowadays, companies will often have a referral scheme, whereby employees are encouraged to refer talented candidates to join the team and are rewarded with a fee if a successful referral is made, meanwhile the company avoids any agency recruitment fees. Staff therefore might over-endorse their company in order to earn that big fat referral fee!

For these reasons, it can often be hit or miss to land a job through an internal referral.

  1.   To Ace the interview you must be well prepared.

Dominating your interview is definitely a great way to increase your chances of getting a job offer. If a candidate applies for the job themselves, or through an internal referral, they may not be able to receive detailed post-interview feedback. In addition, how a candidate performed in their interview often affects the package negotiation.

A seasoned recruiter, on the other hand, will provide you with details on how the interview will flow, including how many rounds of interviews are likely to be conducted, who you will meet, as well as the interviewers’ preferences. The recruitment consultant can therefore work with you on a strategy to get you fully prepared and ultimately lead to a better outcome.

  1. Negotiating your title, salary, and benefits.

There are, without a doubt, many candidates who successfully reach the offer stage through their own existing networks. However, as mentioned above, if the candidate is presented with a less than pleasing offer, this can lead to the dilemma of having to either 1) accept an offer you don’t like, or 2) turn down the opportunity to work for a company you want to work for.

To avoid ending up in this sort of situation, the solution is to find a recruitment consultant to present on your behalf. Recruitment consultants are able to go beyond HR to the final GATE KEEPER – the Hiring Manager – to work out the budget and get the most accurate feedback about a candidate’s profile.

Many candidates shared that they have been offered an unexpectedly low salary figure and somehow felt embarrassed to negotiate the offer with HR, or don’t know if they are welcome to do so. Recruitment consultants always play an essential role here in making sure that HR will deliver a package that is not below your minimum expectations. In other words, recruitment consultants will get their hands dirty to work on getting you exactly what you want and deserve.

Let us take your career to the next level and help find you your dream job and salary package. Contact us now to discuss the next steps.