When job orders decline, finding new business will determine whether your agency thrives. Fortunately, the talent network you’ve nurtured through your referral program is on your side — they can open the doors to new opportunities, helping you win customers before the competition.

Here’s how you can turn your candidate referrals into business development opportunities.

1. Segment your talent pool by skill set and location

Start by taking a close look at your referral candidates to understand the type of talent you have in your network. Group them by their experience, skills and certifications, and desired roles. Also get information on where they’re located and where they want to work. 

For example, if your focus is travel nursing, identify how many of your candidates are RNs and how many are LPNs. Also look at the areas where they specialize, such as intensive care, pediatrics, or in-home care. Use this information to create pools of candidates you know are qualified and in high demand.

Best practice: Avoid candidates who’ve gone cold by sticking to the referrals you’ve gotten just within the last three to six months. Keep tabs on any new referrals that fit into your groups so you’re always aware of exactly who you have available.

2. Find companies hiring candidates that match your talent segments

Now that you have better insight into what talent you have, you can begin to identify employers that are hiring candidates in those areas. These companies could be former or current customers, leads you’ve been nurturing, or new prospects – look at who’s hiring on LinkedIn and Indeed to grow your prospect list.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the types of roles you typically staff. If you have enough referral candidates in a new area, this is a great time to branch out.

Best practice: Start with the companies you’ve worked with in the past — if they’ve already had a good experience with your agency, they’ll be eager to work with you again, especially once they know you have the candidates they need now. Next, look into potential new customers that may have roles available that your talent could fill.

3. Push your candidates out to your prospect list

Typically, sales reps ask companies what roles they might need filled. Having a specific candidate pool at the ready allows you to flip the script. So, instead of asking a potential healthcare customer, “Do you have any open positions I can help you fill?” you can say, “I have 10 travel emergency room RNs ready to start work. Do you have any nursing roles open in your ER?”

Employers want to get talent in the door as quickly as possible, so the fact that you already have qualified candidates on hand just waiting for the right opportunity gives you an immediate competitive advantage. 

Best practice: Make your prospect’s decision easy by communicating that you have talent ready to go. This will cut down the time to hire and help everyone be more profitable.

It’s always worth a deep dive to see exactly what kind of talent you have — candidates who’ve been sitting on the sidelines could be what drives your agency’s success when job orders are down. 

Here at Staffing Referrals, we love seeing our partners build a pool of unique talent from referrals, especially when they can use those referrals to go after new business. To learn more about how automated referral management helps turn your talent pool into a competitive advantage, set up a demo with our team or check out our resource library.