Get Hired With a Little Help From Your Friends

Get Hired With a Little Help From Your Friends

Who knew The Beatles gave such sage career advice?

We're talking about this lyric: “I get by with a little help from my friends. Mmm ... I get hired with a little help from my friends.”

Okay, so maybe we tweaked the song a little. But if Ringo Starr were really singing about the benefits of networking, he would have been onto something.

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That’s the implication of a growing body of research, which suggests the best way to land a job is to get a personal referral to the company you're interested in. That's especially true if you work in the tech industry.

One study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and MIT found referrals make up between 30% and 50% of all U.S. hires. That same study looked at data from a financial services company and found that, even though referrals comprised just 6% of all applications, they made up 29% of hires.

By comparison, 60% of applications came to the company through online job boards—but resulted in only 24% of hires. In fact, once they scored an interview, employees who came through personal referrals were 40% more likely than other candidates to get the gig.

For employers, there are myriad benefits to hiring candidates who have a personal connection to the company. For one, referred workers are generally more productive. They’re also more likely to stay with the company for a while, possibly because they feel an allegiance to the person who helped them secure the position.

With this in mind, many employers have begun dangling hefty bonuses (usually somewhere around $2,000) as a reward for workers who refer qualified candidates. About 70% of companies now have programs to incentivize referrals.

The one danger of hiring referred workers? Because workers tend to recommend candidates of the same gender and race, employers risk creating a homogenous workplace.

Ultimately, while networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s solid evidence that making professional connections can help you find a job that suits your skills and interests. Flummoxed as to how to start forging those relationships? Check out these eight tips from power networkers.

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