So you know the value of referrals and are ready to design a winning referral program. Before you get too far into the process, it’s time to do a little bit of research and find out how others in your industry are managing their referrals. 

At Staffing Referrals, we’ve worked with partners in a variety of industries — from healthcare to industrial to IT — to help them get more quality referrals faster through our automated referral management (ARM) platform. Here are a few things we’ve learned that can set your referral program up for success and set it apart from the competition. 

How much should you pay for referrals?

Perhaps one of the trickiest parts of structuring a referral program is deciding how much to offer your applicants and ambassadors for referrals. But fear not, we did some of the homework for you. 

Referral bonus amounts often depend on the industry and what type of position you’re looking to fill. For example, if you’re asking for healthcare candidates, you might offer a higher reward for referrals to positions for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses than you would for a certified nursing assistant.

Here’s a look at bonus averages and ranges across various verticals:

How can you differentiate your program?  

Now that you have an idea of how much others in your industry offer for referrals, how do you make sure your candidates send their friends and colleagues to you and not one of your competitors? 

Try the following:

  • Use your most successful competitors’ referral setup to inform your program structure.
  • Examine the language your peers use to describe their programs and think about how to improve your messaging. If you work with candidates in multiple verticals, consider job-specific referral programs that cater to the needs of different audiences. Travel nurses may respond to different messaging than light industrial workers.
  • Match or beat your competitors’ incentives. This is especially important if you know your audience prioritizes pay above all. Referral bonuses that are too low might send them walking.
  • Be mindful of how steep your pre-bonus work requirement is. If you require six months of work before anyone gets a bonus, it might be a barrier to getting more referrals.
  • Identify reasons beyond the bonus that might prompt people to refer candidates to your company (your great recruiters, higher salaries, transparent pay packages, unique benefits package, quick response rates, unwavering support, etc.).

Developing a referral program that continually delivers exceptional candidates doesn’t just happen overnight — it takes a lot of careful thought and planning. And taking a closer look at your competition, while keeping the needs and expectations of your audience in mind, is a good place to start.

Want more tips for creating a successful referral program? Download our free Referral Program Best Practices & Benchmarks eBook.