Dan Iazzetti on the Dynamic of Employee Referrals on Talent Strategy, Engagement, and Brand

November 16, 2018 Alessandra Williams

Dan Iazzetti is everything you would expect and more as a leader in the Talent Acquisition space with years of experience in the health and biotech space.


Divulging the Secrets on Employee Referrals

Dan IazzettiDan is someone who, at once you meet him, instantly becomes a close friend. His enthusiasm and passion for finding top talent and his warm, approachable nature allows him to connect with everyone he meets and is the way he has built a strong reputable network of talent. He was kind enough to share all the best ways of growing a successful company with dedicated employees through a strong referral program. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @cdanno for talent news and tips.

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

Recognition is the biggest component of a good referral program. Following up on each referral is important and ensuring that the employees giving successful referrals are given thanks and rewarded. A good referral program will also have ease of access and understanding for every employee.

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

Referred candidates are very highly perceived by hiring managers. These candidates come better prepared than direct applicants and have better connectivity to the company. They have better credibility that comes with their referral.

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

Internal visibility is important, which is why marketing the program is paramount. At a previous company, we held a competition for the employees to re-name the referrals program to build ownership and engagement. With the new name of the program, it was advertised everywhere on posters and cling-on window stickers in the high traffic areas of the building: break rooms, cafeteria, etc. There was weekly advertising with e-mails, jingles, and offering rewards throughout the referral journey.

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

Historically, referred candidates and employees who refer, stay longer and are more engaged compared to those who aren’t involved in the referral program.

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

Retention and engagement are great benefits. With spending so much time at work, people want to work and spend time with people who are similar to them. High performers will want to surround themselves with other high performers and that helps to create the company culture.

6. What level of employee referral cash bonuses have you rewarded in the past?

Generally, it is $2500 for a referral today. It has been rising steadily the past few years and can be anywhere as high as $10,000.

7. What referral probation periods have you seen associated with cash rewards?

Usually, the rewards payment is 90 days after the candidate starts. Sometimes, you see 30 days and occasionally the day the candidate starts.

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

Yes, we feel it’s important to educate the new hires and build the culture from the start as new hires are the best source!

9. How have referred candidates compared on a cost-per-hire basis to other candidate sources?

Referred candidates are at a much lower cost-per-hire. Overall, comparing to agency costs, it’s about 1/10 of that cost.

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

Just do it! Without any hesitation, the key is to just do it. Don’t get caught up in the policies or guidelines. By getting started, it starts the process sooner of getting higher quality candidates in the door. It’s a no-brainer!


Great information that is easy and beneficial for any company to learn and implement. My three key takeaways are:

Takeaway #1: Every referral is important and needs to have a follow-up process as well as giving thanks and rewards to employees making successful referrals. Don’t give employees the “referral black hole experience” and a platform that offers no information or recognition.

Takeaway #2: Referred candidates come better prepared than direct applicants, have better connectivity to the company, and are the best cost-per-hire than other sources. Look to the employees, not agencies, on building an efficient and positive culture for the best investment.

Takeaway #3: High performers will want to surround themselves with other high performers and the best time to start is with the on-boarding process. Capture the positive energy and build a vibrant company culture with a continuous growth of high-quality candidates.


What were your favorite tips from Dan? What changes do you think can be made at your company?

We want to know your thoughts and be sure to share the post with who you think could benefit from a better referral program.

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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