Matthew Perry Discussing First-Rate Techniques for Talent Acquisition Excellence

February 22, 2019 Alessandra Williams

Recognized for his extensive talent acquisition experience, Matthew Perry is well respected for his expertise in developing strong client relationships and delivering innovative solutions for staffing needs.


Transforming the Digital World Using Cutting-Edge Technology

Matthew PerryPerry specializes in recruiting for analytics and technology and consumer shopper marketing segments and hires the industry’s best people to be a part of the digital media revolution. For a company that processes anonymized transactional data from more than 400 retailers and over 80 billion online interactions, they are constantly taking on the challenge of growth. Perry utilizes his strong worth ethic and passion to continually champion talent and recognizes that a strong employee referral programs support in accomplishing his vision.

1. What are the most important components of a good referral program?

Remove all sources of resistance as employees tend to take the easiest path. With more referrals, you’ll see higher quality. A good program will be quick, seamless, and allow the ease to make a referral. Transparency needs to be throughout the entire process. Employees want to know what happens to their referrals, when they’re getting paid, and the overall impact they’re having on the business.

2. Do you think there is an ideal % of hires a company should aim to generate through referrals?

Target for 35% - 50%. Above 50%, it’s the other side of the coin and can become a risk for diversity.

3. What are the main challenges you’ve seen companies face when looking to increase their % of hires through referrals?

Employee referrals are a good barometer of the employee populations’ view of a company.

If you’ve got a struggling brand externally, it’s going to correlate with difficulty generating engagement internally. The number and quality of employee referrals is a good barometer of employee happiness.

If employees are proud of the company they’re working at, it’s going to make the process of generating quality referrals much easier. As a talent acquisition team, there’s only so many chances you get to treat referrals right. Employees need to be treated right for them to stay engaged in the program in the long term. The employee and candidate experiences are extremely important.

4. How are referred candidates perceived by hiring managers at companies you’ve worked at?

Depends, overall more reverence than an external person applying. Understanding that fellow employees think highly enough of the company to refer a friend mean they should be rewarded for that trust. Referred candidates receive a white glove experience and there’s often extra care taken by the hiring manager. Hiring managers treat other peoples’ referrals like they would want their own to be treated.

5. How have you marketed referral programs to create internal visibility?

We have tried to have very aligned messaging with our overall company messaging. For example, the company message is the Conversant ‘digital revolution’, we’ve branded our program ‘referral revolution’. A commonality of the wording helps with the identity of the program. We’ve inspired the employee base with a ‘going to battle’ type of theme. We reference the ‘War for talent’ and that we need their help to win it. We also use the idea that ‘top performers know other top performers’ around the office

Top teams are not found, they’re made. Bring people here, so we don’t have to grow everybody from the ground up.

6. Have you seen a positive impact on retention from referred candidates and on the employees doing the referring?

Referred candidates stay a year longer than headhunted candidates. The number of ATSs systems makes tracking difficult. Cost-per-hire is lower and referred hires get up to speed quicker, we’ve heard this from hiring managers. Referred hires have more skin in the game and get up to speed quicker. People who are referrals have a touchpoint who they can reach out to in order to ramp-up faster. Makes referred hires sticky as they have more loyalty as a result of the personal connection.

7. Outside of the direct value of filling requisitions, have you experienced any other benefits of a strong referrals program?

Yeah, age-old battle of quality vs quantity. 685 referrals /77 hires in 2017. 6 months since Referral Revolution, 1700 referrals/42 hires. We’re looking to improve quality now. The difference is the number of referrals and hires. Another component is employee experience and candidate experience. Candidate experience and employee experience have vastly improved. It’s hard to put a monetary value on a good candidate and employee experience. We’ve had the feedback from employees that with more transparency, the black-hole is taken away.

8. Have you ever incentivized with participation based rewards like gift cards, charity donations or raffle prizes?

‘Conversant wins’ celebrates successes. This is a once a quarter, company-wide global discussion. We highlight who’s been the top referrers and which department has had most referrals to introduce some friendly competition.

9. Have you ever performed any offline referral advertising (e.g. posters, lunches, recruiter 1 on 1s with employees)?

We’ve done referral roadshows, we meet with departments to talk about referrals, the process and to keep it top of mind. Doesn’t slip into the background. New hire orientations, more people signed up quicker. Little things here and there, different pictures on doors to increase participation.

10. Have you asked for referrals as part of the new onboarding process?

Referral revolution is as part of onboarding, ask for 1 referral within 1 week. They get pizza, t-shirts for doing so etc. They’re much more receptive during the first week than after 6, 9 months of being at the company. Breakfast club - are you geek, athlete, prom queen etc.

Within 90 days we invite them to breakfast. We ask them experience apply to roles, onboarding, acclimatization. We ask ‘if you haven’t referred someone, why haven’t you?’, if you have, ‘how’s your experience been?’ 80% of employees show up to this and it’s a great way to assess the overall candidate and employee referral experience.

11. What’s the #1 employee referral program tip you would like to pass on?

Transparency in the referral process breeds trust, no referral program will do good without it.


In developing a robust Employee Referrals program, here are my three takeaways from Perry:

Takeaway #1: Create ease for making referrals. Move to automation, have a strong ATS integration, and uphold transparency to have a working program that builds trust.

Takeaway #2: The number and quality of employee referrals is a good barometer of employee happiness. It will reflect that the process in place is working and sustaining employee engagement.

Takeaway #3: Referred candidates stay a year longer than headhunted candidates. It’s a great return on investment, especially with the added value of the lowest cost per hire.


Tell us your favorite answers and what you like best about your employee referral program at your company.

Share the article and be sure to follow Matthew Perry at @Bing5889 on Twitter!

About the Author

Alessandra Williams

Alessandra Williams, our Marketing Development Lead, spearheads the efforts of organizing company-sponsored events. She loves connecting with passionate and innovative recruitment leaders who believe the people at their companies are genuinely their best asset. For the past several years, she has traveled all over the country to interview prominent thought leaders and provide encouragement to those who want to learn about the best industry practices, such as the benefits of implementing a strong employee referrals and internal mobility program. When she's not working, she is back home in sunny Southern California and loves walking her dog, exploring historical sites and museums, going on hikes, practicing yoga, and eating to her heart's content at the best restaurants (yes, feel free to reach out to her for recommendations and help with SF & LA reservations).

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