Referrals are wonderful and help us make great hires/placements- we all know that. But, what do you do when you have coworkers who refer candidates (usually family, friends or former coworkers) who are out of alignment with your company? This may be a "corporate recruiter only" type of situation - but its happened often enough that I'm curious how others handle it. Care to share your best tips? 

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It's definitely not a corporate recruiter thing! As an agency besdies getting hundreds of random applicants, we also get a lot of people we know (friends, family, acquaintances) asking if we can help someone find a job, which is unlikely unless they happen to be an industrial ethernet specialist that will relocate to Birmingham, AL. I usually tell people asking what I do that I'm a recruiter and that most of my clients me to find them CEO's, engineers, scientists, etc. That seems to cut down on getting people sent to me that I can't help.

If this is happening with people that work at your company, I would certainly ask the person who wants to refer someone what is it about "so and so" that might make them a good fit here? What department/part of the organization do you think there background would work best? Etc.

Now, if these referrals are just coming in through your current application system/process I would treat them the same as any other applicant. I would also talk to whoever handles the employee referral program, if there is someone. If such a program is in place, maybe the company needs to be more detailed and consistent in reminding employees of the types of positions are "open" for referrals.

Most likely, it will be never ending and you just have to keep managing it into your workflow, ...

Just one of the joys of being a recruiter or HR person in any venue.  I send an email saying that Judy Sue referred you to me.  Unfortunately i do not work the type of job you are looking for but you might apply at XYZ, ABC or check with BLAH, BLAH agency i believe they handle the type of job you are looking for.


I find that making a quick suggestion as to another company or site is often appreciated and does not take up a lot of time.

I wish I could tell you it gets easier... you have to pick your battles. :) I have actually told the referrer that I simply was not going to discuss their friend/sibling/roommate/spouse's application and if they wanted an update they could go to the applicant directly. Done.

It's also possible (tricky, but possible) to help the referred candidate withdraw themselves. It's all about educating them on what the company is like and what type of opportunities might be availabe for someone with their specific skills / background. ;)

you can also try sharing this post with offenders  - Employee Referrals Gone Wild

I get some really strange ones as well, and some that don't seem off base but in the phone interview I wouldn't dream of hiring this person.  Honestly, I don't interview them all, I will send an email letting them know I received their resume and will contact them if we have a role that fits.  If the referee follows up I tell them the same thing.  

I have a situation right now where one of our Senior Sales execs have a referral from one of our clients and has been making some promises that we are not comfortable with.  We are stuck trying to manage a junior candidate who is not even in the right state for the role.  Referrals can definitely get painful in these moments...

Here is what I love about referrals.  I am talking with an Attorney give him the poop on the job and he tells me it sounds good but he is not looking to move at this point.  I say OK whom do you know who would have the same background as yourself I could reach out to and the Attorney will give me a name of some one.  I thank him let him know if anything changes in his present situation to please call me and I hang up.  I am excited as here is a referral of a candidate with a similar background.  About 96% of the time the person is not even close to what I am looking for.  Ugh.  In fact one guy said I don't know why Tom referred me I am not a Chemical Eng.  Just gotta love it.  : )

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