Melissa Ngo-Harris Covering Talent Acquisition Tips for Hiring Top Talent

March 8, 2019 Alessandra Williams

Melissa Ngo-Harris is the Global Manager of Recruiting at Aptos with thirteen years of experience collaborating with senior management to hire top talent and successfully meet the needs of the business.


Networking and Building Relationships

Melissa Ngo-HarrisVital to the success of every company is ensuring top talent is hired consistently throughout the growth and development. Aptos has become the leader in providing solutions for the world’s most iconic brands due to its growing workforce of the right people who further create a positive culture. Ngo-Harris plays a key role as a dedicated professional with impressive knowledge who understands how to truly shape high-performing teams and run efficient recruitment strategies that best compliments and contributes to Aptos. Her experience is worthwhile to consider how she has implemented a robust referral program that supports her hiring goals.

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

There are so many! First and foremost, you have to have the mindset of the value of employee referrals to want and utilize a system like RolePoint. Second, you have to have a good culture where employees want to refer their friends or past colleagues. Third, you have to ask for the referrals. Since launching RolePoint, we’ve learned that running campaigns help as continual reminders and tend to lead to more referrals. Finally, you have to follow through with those referrals too, otherwise, people will stop referring.

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

At least 20% of hires through referrals as a bare minimum, the more the better.

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

We launch monthly email campaigns and quarterly prizes for employees on leaderboards and the top referrers. Using the gamification tool, we have a point system and reward points based on referral actions.

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

To give you some data, last year for 2017 we had 150 employee referrals and 36 hires with running campaigns on our own. Since we launched RolePoint, along with monthly campaigns and adding in quarterly prizes, we’ve had 150 employee referrals in the last four months and about 10 hires so far. For most companies, they have an employee referral policy, but in order to get the most out of your policy, you need to advertise it and ask for referrals. Keep the program at the forefront and if employees are happy, then they will refer, they’ll be happy to refer a friend, it’s just not always at the top of their mind.

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

Generally, our referral payouts are anywhere between $1,000 - $3,000, and it depends on the level of role. A junior-level hire will be $1,000 and a developer role around $3,000. We run often times for difficult to fill positions, we will double the referral reward amounts. But, we generally don’t offer more than $4,000 or $5,000, we did some research before and found that anything more than $4,000 doesn’t entice people any more or any less.

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

Anyone who refers someone is eligible for points and prizes. We also still pay out cash referral bonuses for candidates hired. We’ve done prizes like Apple AirPods, Beats by Dre headphones, Amazon echo dots, gift cards, etc. Prizes go out for top referrers.

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

Be different, make it fun, launch campaigns and ask for referrals but don’t be afraid to make the wording more casual and fun. Make the program competitive and really think outside of the box i.e. bring a friend to work day, or hosting a happy hour with no obligations, etc.


With her great enthusiasm and experience, Ngo-Harris has helped to build an enhanced Employee Referrals program experience, and here are my three takeaways:

Takeaway #1: The company’s follow-through on employee referrals is needed to build employee trust and ensure the loop is closed on the process, otherwise people will not refer if they don’t have transparency or action on the company’s end.

Takeaway #2: Reward employees for their referral actions. Engagement increases with positive reinforcement and cash bonuses, points, and prizes work great.

Takeaway #3: Keep referrals top of mind for employees. Be creative with fun campaigns, events, and marketing and the results will follow.


What ideas or takeaways were the most helpful? Are most companies you know working on enhancing their referrals program?

Share the article and be sure to follow Melissa Ngo-Harris on LinkedIn.

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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