All Employees Can Be Recruiters—Here's How

Here at Greenhouse, we’re pretty passionate about recruiting. So much so, in fact, that we built an entire company that’s dedicated to it!

But not everyone geeks out about recruiting as much as we do, and that’s fine. No matter what products you’re creating or what problems your company is solving, chances are you’re looking at your recruiting pipeline and will need to make some new hires over the course of the year.

At some companies, recruiters are on their own. They’re solely responsible for sourcing and hiring all new employees. But we think it’s much more effective—and fun—to get the whole company involved in recruiting.

Let’s start by sharing why it makes sense to build a company-wide recruiting culture, and then we’ll share a few examples of how we’ve put this in place at Greenhouse. Sound good?

We’ll tackle the big question first: Why should you make recruiting a company-wide initiative?

The benefits of company-wide recruiting initiatives

One of the easiest ways to involve all employees in recruiting is by starting an employee referral program. In its simplest form, an employee referral program involves having your existing employees make suggestions about people in their network who they think would be a good fit for your company. Here are three reasons why having a program like this makes sense:

1. Better hiring

For starters, employee referrals tend to have a better conversion to hire rate than candidates who come from other sources. We’ve seen this firsthand at Greenhouse. Since we’ve been tracking these numbers, we’ve hired 4% of candidates who came from referrals, as opposed to .66% of people who've applied through the jobs page and .2% of people who apply through third-party job boards like AngelList or LinkedIn.

In the workforce in general, referrals also boast a higher retention rate than employees coming from other sources. According to the 2012 Jobvite Index, after one year on the job, employees who came from referrals have a 46% retention rate (compared to 33% from career sites and 22% from job boards).

Furthermore, candidates who come in through referrals also have a significantly shorter time period from hire to start day. Employee referrals start after an average of 29 days vs. 55 days for candidates from career sites. Plus, it’s also been shown that new hires obtained through employee referrals finish training and onboarding sooner than hires from other sources.

2. Increased ownership and brand advocacy

Building a recruiting culture extends beyond referrals, and it can also benefit your company in other ways. You’ll be giving your existing employees a voice—they have the power to actually change the makeup of your organization. This can lead to an increased sense of ownership and pride, which makes existing employees even better cheerleaders for your employer brand and boosts engagement and retention.

3. Promote communication and collaboration

By allowing employees to be involved in recruiting, you also promote cross-departmental communication and collaboration. We’ve seen this work really well at some awesome companies, like Thumbtack, where the responsibility of filling open roles can be assigned to any department. So, the marketing team might find themselves filling roles on the engineering team, for example.

With cross-departmental collaboration, recruiters will enjoy support from people throughout the company. And, employees at all levels can gain a better understanding of what recruiting is all about and what direction your company is headed. All in all, it’s a win for your company, a win for recruiters, and a win for everyone else who gets involved.

Now that we’ve made the case for why building a recruiting culture is so important, here are a few ways that we’ve approached employee referrals at Greenhouse.

1. We give all employees the ability to make referrals from day one.

When new hires start at Greenhouse, they get access to Greenhouse software on their first day. During our onboarding sessions, we encourage each employee to connect their social media accounts and set a publication schedule to share the latest job postings with their networks. This is a super easy way to get even the newest employees involved in our recruiting efforts and help them feel like they are contributing to the success of the company right from the start.

2. We’ve built a referral program that incentivizes employee participation.

Some employees just want to participate in referral programs because they happen to know a great person for a specific role—obviously, we LOVE this proactive recruiting enthusiasm. But some employees need a little extra motivation in order to participate.

We recently rolled out a referral program that we’re pretty excited about. Here’s how it works: Any time an employee makes a referral, they get a ticket. They keep half the ticket and exchange it for highly sought-after Greenhouse swag. Smaller items like keychains and bottle openers go for one ticket, while a T-shirt or beanie will set you back seven tickets. The remaining half of the ticket will go into a quarterly raffle drawing, held at the company all-hands meeting for maximum impact and excitement. Prizes for the quarterly drawing include things like Apple TV and credit at Airbnb.

And just to up the ante a bit, every year the person whose referrals have generated the most hires will win a grand prize of a trip for two to the destination of their choice.

3. We hold regular sourcing/referral parties.

The Greenhouse recruiting team holds sourcing/referral parties on a quarterly basis. We invite the whole company to participate, and make it fun by offering food and drinks. Throughout the event, the recruiting team is available to support all participants, whether it’s providing BOOLEAN search terms, tracking codes, or example recruiting emails to send to prospects.

We have a few goals during these events:  

  • to help employees feel more comfortable using LinkedIn
  • to set aside some time for employees to think about the people in their network who aren’t necessarily top of mind
  • to share what types of candidates we’re looking for
  • to give employees insight into how our software works
  • to increase the number of referrals!

We’re big proponents of transparency, so we let the entire company know how many positions we need to fill by the end of the current quarter. This really helps employees see how much of an impact their individual contributions can have on helping the recruiting team meet its goals.

4. We encourage employees from every department to participate in culture fit interviews.

We’re proud of our culture here at Greenhouse, and we strive to make thoughtful decisions as our company continues to grow. We want to make sure that candidates have the required skills to do the job that they’re applying for, but we also want to ensure that they’ll flourish in our working environment. That’s why we’ve made culture fit interviews an integral part of our hiring process. We conducted 184 culture interviews last quarter!

Anyone within the company can indicate that they’re interested in participating in culture interviews—and many people have. Currently, 35% of the company has gone through culture fit interview training.

Having people from across the company express their interest in this aspect of interviewing is exciting because it means that employees from every level and department have a hand in defining what our culture is and identifying it among candidates. Giving employees a voice in the interview process leads to higher engagement and ownership.

The efforts that we’ve outlined in this post have a few common threads: trusting your employees to be your best brand advocates, encouraging cross-departmental collaboration and communication, and familiarizing everyone with some stage of the recruitment process. We hope you’ll see why we believe recruiting really can be a company-wide initiative—and you’re now equipped with a few ideas to try out at your organization. Let us know how it goes!

Topics: Recruiting, Talent

Stay Updated

Get the latest news from Namely about HR, payroll, and benefits.