Reading Time: 7 minutes

88% of employers rate employee referrals as the best way to find job applicants. So, if you’re in the market for new hires, using an employee referral program is one of the best strategies to secure top talent. 

With 30 – 40% of all hires coming from employee referrals, it is evident that a well-executed program can be of great benefit.

And what better way to roll this out than to use your alumni community as an excellent source for your referral program? This is also an effective way to engage your alumni network.

In this guide, we’ll explore employee referral programs and how they can benefit your alumni network and your organization.

employee referral programs advert

What Is An Employee Referral Program  

An employee referral program is a recruitment strategy where organizations provide incentives to their employees if they refer successful candidates for job listings.

Thanks to their previous work experience and education, your employees will have a diverse network of qualified contacts.

An alumni referral network follows the same criteria as they have access to a network of connections from their education endeavours and career experience.

Sharing job openings with your alumni network can help you extend your reach and connect with an array of top talent.

two people shaking hands after referring an employee

How Employee Referral Programs Can Benefit Your Alumni Network 

Here are some of the main benefits of utilizing your alumni referral network.

Helps You Find Candidates With The Right Culture Fit

Using employee referrals is a great way to find candidates who are a better culture match for your association.

This is because candidates who are referred will already be pre-screened by your employees and alumni. If the employees and alumni fitted well into your business, then they are privy to the kind of personality that will amalgamate well there.

While it’s easy to evaluate candidates based on experience and skills, finding candidates with the right culture fit is a bit more tricky. This is one of the major benefits of running a referral program.

[activecampaign form=5]

Reduces Hiring Time 

Traditional recruiting cycles can take a long time. By tapping into your employee and alumni networks, you will be able to find better-quality job candidates. This is because these networks will only refer people that they trust to be a good match.

Referrals also come to you instead of you having to search for them. This makes it faster to find the right candidates.

Successful Candidates Stay Longer In Their Role

Successful candidates from employee referral programs typically last longer in jobs compared to hiring outsiders. This helps you get greater value from referral hires.

man on a laptop

Engages Your Alumni Network 

Asking your alumni network for job referrals is an excellent way to engage with your community. Doing so also shows that you trust your alumni network and see value in them.

This can help create a more positive experience for your community. At the same time, offering a referral incentive could keep your alumni interested in engaging with your organization.

It is also an effective way for your alumni network to be aware of the opportunities available in your institution/organization.

Access Greater Reach To Talent 

Employee referral programs give you access to a wider reach of talent. Instead of relying solely on job boards and job listing sites, you can reach more people through your employee and alumni networks.

Ultimately, this can help you access high-calibre candidates, which will result in securing stronger talent for your organization.

Tapping into their communities will also allow you to grow your member directory.

Lower Hiring Costs  

Arguably the most important benefit of using employee referral programs is that they result in top-quality hires at a lower hiring cost.

There is less risk involved when you use your network for referrals because employees and alumni have the incentive to help your business secure good candidates.

man on a phone

How to Utilize Your Alumni Referral Network 

If you want to implement a successful employee referral program, here are some tips to help you make the most of your alumni referral network.

1. List Referral Opportunities On Your Alumni Platform

It’s important that you formally list your employee referral programs and opportunities. Instead of simply relying on word-of-mouth or standalone announcements, you should formally list any referral opportunities you have available on your alumni platform.

This will ultimately make it easier to access a wide pool of talent and opportunities from your alumni network.

small golden eggs in hands

2. Offer Valuable Incentives

Employee referral programs need to have a strong incentive if they’re going to be successful. It has to be a win-win relationship.

Incentives are generally monetary rewards, but they don’t have to be limited to this. You could offer incentives like company discounts, mentorship opportunities, access to courses, or more.

Understand what would entice your alumni network and be sure to offer a referral incentive that matches their desires.

3. Understand Your Brand

How is your institution/organization being perceived as an employer? Having a firm grasp of this is important if you’re going to run successful employee referral programs.

If your brand offers a positive experience for employees, then you will be able to attract top talent more easily.

Factors to consider include employee benefits, your workplace culture, your employment terms, and the kind of work-life balance that your employees have. Are these aspects appealing to new hires?

If your employer brand is not strong enough, you might scare away referred talent. One effective way to measure this is to research your brand on job listing sites and gather as many positive employee reviews and alumni brand advocacy.

post it notes sticking

4. Build Your Alumni Network Early

The larger and more engaged your alumni network is, the better your chances of developing a successful referral program will be.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to enrol new hires into your alumni network from their first day on the job.

Encourage new hires to be actively involved in your alumni community, and add value to their lives in order to keep them engaged and participating.

If you have a larger and more active alumni community, you can expect to get more interest and better results from your employee referral programs.


An employee referral program is a strategic approach to hiring quality candidates for your organization.

Using your alumni network to enhance your referral program is an excellent notion in that it allows you to tap into a larger pool of talent, and significantly improve the way that you take on new team members.

Using the right alumni community platform, like Aluminate, will make the process seamless.

Aluminate makes it easy to develop actively engaged alumni communities and share the right content with them – such as your referral program. This can be a game changer when making your next hire.