Friend referral ideas

6 Original Ideas That Will Get People to Refer Their Friends

As someone who knows and experiences the great challenge of recruiting high-quality personnel for organizations (especially in recent years), you’re certainly aware of the “employer branding” process, that is, branding and marketing the organization to its potential employees as an attractive and desirable employer.

One of the most important elements of the employer branding process is a good and beneficial work environment that creates happy employees.

Because happy employees are an organization’s best ambassadors, as the well-known saying goes:

Satisfied? Tell your friends. Dissatisfied? Maybe you should move to a different organization…

As ambassadors, existing employees can serve as leverage for recruiting new employees by means of Friend referrals.
After all, whose advice do you trust if not your best friend’s?

The referral recruitment method is a win-win situation:

And there are many more advantages for the organization (recruitment cost savings, employee empowerment, and creating employee involvement in the organization, strengthening employer branding, and as a result – the organization’s branding, etc.).

But in order to create a referral program that works properly, it’s important to think outside the box, get creative and understand that the bonus received by the employee who recruits a friend isn’t in itself enough of an incentive for the employee.

In order for an employee to refer a friend, you need to create sufficient motivation, which derives from a combination of a desire to help the friend and a desire to help the organization.

So here are six ideas that can advance the process, speed up recruitment and create an organization full of friends.



Money or gift cards don’t always get employees to pick up the gauntlet (or put it down) and call a friend.

A gift that has had thought put into it, or an invitation to an experience
(vacation, workshop, adventure sports, etc.) are more highly valued, more memorable, and talked about more among employees.

It’s possible to create marketing buzz surrounding a gift like this, to turn it into the conversation of the day and to make the whole referral campaign more attractive.
(And it’s always possible to let an employee trade the gift that created the impact for a monetary incentive, but the experience has already left an impact.)



These small and intimate events, bringing together the department/organization’s employees to sum up the day or a period of time, are events that add a lot to the employees’ sense of involvement and of “being part of something bigger.”

Inviting friends to these events (once in a while) can create a sense of pride in the organization, employee empowerment, and in addition – can make the friend feel that they want to be part of this place. 

A successful event like this strengthens your friend referral campaign, and along the way also supports the organization’s employer branding.



When a specific position is hard to recruit for, it’s worth bringing together employees who potentially have a relevant circle of friends (usually employees in the same field) and together to bring think of their relevant connections in a focused manner.

This is the time to check their LinkedIn account, their contact lists, friends from university, colleagues from previous jobs and more, and see who of their friends and contacts could be a good match for the organization.



Any task that becomes a competition spurs its participants to take part. Make your friend referral campaign a competition between departments, branches, regions, or…. 

Offer a joint prize to the group whose members recruit the most friends – and you’ll be surprised at the great motivation and creativity that everyone suddenly has.



Connect the launch of your friend referral campaign to a significant date – Valentine’s Day, Family Day, a holiday…

That way, you can create a strong and memorable concept and connect all of the messages to something coherent and catchy: “Refer a friend – so you won’t be alone on the holiday…” / ”Now is the time to shower your friends with love…” / etc.



Make a video– or a series of clips – that reflect the existing organizational culture.

Create situations from the employees’ life, talk about the most fascinating projects that are happening now, share day-to-day experiences. 

That way you’ll both generate curiosity and interest among potential employees and provide existing employees with a simple and convenient tool for sending out the recruitment message.

And aside from all that, the most important of all is to – keep it simple
Don’t make it hard for your employees to take part in the program. 

Provide them with a precise description of the job and its requirements, market the campaign using all relevant media, create a clear and simple contact form, and be transparent about the entire process –both the candidates and their friends – the employees at your organization.

Good luck!

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