Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

January 2, 2012

Referrals as a business model

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:49 PM

Most companies have a referral program where employes can refer their acquaintances for positions in the company. The idea behind the program is simple, smart people have smart friends and you have a higher chance of finding a qualified person through a referral than a cold interview.

I got the following email today which turns the entire concept on its head and tries to convince you to game the system:

As a qualified professional in a reputed firm you are probably on the lookout for good candidates to refer. I’d like to introduce Round One – an innovative new platform that connects you to job seekers so you can refer those you choose:

Once you sign up you can:

  • Receive profiles of candidates interested in your company via email, who you can unofficially interview over the phone
  • Earn incentives from Round One for each candidate you speak with
  • Refer candidates you choose, via your firms referral program and earn your company’s referral bonus

The third point makes is really clear what their selling point is: make money by referring candidates to your company. But instead of referring people you personally know are qualified for the position, you will be referring people you have talked to a couple of times on the phone and have know idea about. In essence you are acting like a head hunter but instead of being upfront about it you are gaming the company.

I am sure that this practice would be discouraged in most companies and if a person is caught doing this they would face some action. Actually I would hope that this would be the case because this offer is dishonest and sneaky. If you really want to spend time headhunting you should start/join a headhunter company.

What do you folks think? Is this a smart idea, or just underhandedness and not something to be encouraged?

– Suramya


  1. Hi Surmaya,

    I read your blog on Referrals as a Business Model ….I am in complete disagreement to what you stated…

    At the end of the day, a person getting referred by me wont be a terrorist and it is solely on company’s discretion whether to select a candidate (after 3-4 rounds) or not.Referring doesn’t mean that I am forcing company to recruit my candidate…it’s basically a request to consider my candidate “if” they feel “he” fit into their shoes.

    Comment by Sanket — June 16, 2012 @ 3:06 PM

  2. Hi Sanket,

    First of all its common curtsey to *atleast* make sure you spell the name of the person you are responding to correctly. Moving on to your comment, here are my thoughts.

    I don’t think you are really clear on the concept of referrals. A referral allows a company to get the resume of a person who is known to the person making the referral and thereby is assumed to have a solid person vouching for them. Its not to hire a random person that could have gotten through a recruitment agency.

    If I am being paid for making a referral for a person I don’t even know then how is it any different from getting that person’s resume from a recruitment agency? Why should the company pay me to hire someone who I am not really (actually can’t) vouching for?

    Its not about if the person who I get through this company is a terrorist or not (BTW, I have no idea how you decided that I assumed that a person coming from you is a terrorist.), its about taking a system that is meant for helping a company hire smart people (under the assumption smart people are friends with smart people) and gaming it.

    Like I said in the post, if you want to spend time headhunting you should start/join a headhunter company.

    – Suramya

    Comment by Suramya — June 17, 2012 @ 2:46 AM

  3. Impsriesve brain power at work! Great answer!

    Comment by Maribeth — July 18, 2012 @ 1:10 AM

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