The Hiring Handbook

Hiring tip #1: Employee Referrals 

Posted by Scott Erwin on Apr 6, 2018 3:21:50 PM
Scott Erwin

Referral schemes are super successful. Everyone’s had a free cab off a friend from Uber, a free pizza from a mate via Deliveroo, or if you were lucky enough you’d have got some free money from PayPal when they started for getting a friend to use the service.

Big companies use employee referral schemes brilliantly because they have a lot of employees across different expertise they can tap into.

The same works for smaller companies and hospitality in particular is great - probably the only benefit of the high staff turnover!

This means that you’ve got two groups of great advocates for your business:

  • People who currently work for you

  • People who used to work for you.

All of these people (minus the people who left under a bit of a cloud) should be ready and willing to recommend your business as a great place to work to their friend or work circles.

Your two key things to success on an referral are:

How much the person referring liked you/the business

Sounds obvious but it’s worth bearing in mind. Be selective about who approach and you’ll get a better response rate. Someone who didn’t like working with you will refer any old person, whereas someone who likes you and the team will only put for ward

What incentive you’re offering

The better the incentive, the better the programme will work. But there’s no need to blow the budget, do bear in mind that while saying £50 for a person you end up hiring sounds expensive it’s actually cheaper then the time you’ll interviewing the wrong people and paying to have your post promoted on a job boards like Job Today and Gumtree.

Now we know what’s what, let's look at how to make it happen:


1. Put together you job spec/description

Check out examples here  - remember to include your perks and the referral scheme in it


2. Decide your incentive

This could be anything up to £50 (trust us it’s still cheaper and less stressful then spending loads of time filtering CVs and not having staff) or something which you can absorb the cost into your day-to-day such as 20% off their next bill or free starter next time they’re in.

3. Shortlist your former employees

Remember to take out the bad’uns.

4. Send the job spec to these your current work group and your former list!

We suggest using something like:

Hey Everyone. Here at  [restaurant name] we’re hiring for a [job position] that pays £[X] per hour. If you can find me the right person, and they take the job I’ll give you [referral incentive]. Just make sure they mention you at interview or send me their contacts and I’ll message them.


5. Track it! And Pay up! And say Thank You. 

You’ll build trust and credibility with the people who are referring when you actually deliver on your promise! In order to deliver you need to be able to track who was referring. The most basic way to do this is when you interview the candidate to ask “How did you hear about us?”.

Every time you get a candidate, even if you didn’t up taking them on, send the person who referred them a message. Simply saying ‘Thanks, but we founded someone the team liked better’. This lets them know you valued their input even it didn’t work out this time, and means they’re more likely to refer next time.

For the person who referred the successful candidate - it’s simple. An even bigger thank you and paying up the incentive.

If you don’t do this word will get around no one will refer people to work with you.


HireHand provide temporary and long-term placement hospitality staff all the while cutting your labour costs by up to 10% and making your GM more productive. Your key team will always stay, for everyone else there’s HireHand - regular skilled workers that fit with your team.

Topics: Hiring

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