Employee Referrals: The Hidden Benefit of Alumni Relations

October 16, 2015

An engaged alumni network provides cost effective access to top-caliber talent and serves as a channel for business development, but there is another benefit of alumni relations that is not often talked about: referrals from former employees.

In a recent study conducted by iCIMS, it was reported that 60% of employees have referred at least one person to an open position at their company. It's a common practice: former employees want to work with people they know, and referring a qualified candidate to an open position helps their organization grow and succeed.

A far less common yet equally valuable referral source is the corporate alumni network.

The Numbers on Corporate Alumni Referrals

Recruiting company SmashFly Technologies recently released an insightful study about the power of expanding referrals beyond current employees. According to the data, organizations that open up their employee referral programs to alumni and other sources outside of their organization receive 28% more hires from referrals. Further, the quality of candidates referred to open positions at the company increased by 8% in these larger referral networks.

Unfortunately, many companies are not capitalizing on the benefits of an expanded referral program. Only 43% of companies accept referrals that come from outside their organization. Some companies lack the budget and resources to support a larger referral network while others are simply unaware that these benefits exist.

Three Key Benefits of Referrals From Alumni

An effective alumni program results in the creation of brand ambassadors: people who advocate for your organization, even if it has been years since they left the company. Referrals that come in from your alumni network have three major benefits:

  • The company hires a skilled employee who fits well with its culture. This is the most obvious benefit of alumni referrals, but arguably the most important.
  • The organization receives tangible evidence of the benefit of its alumni program. The savings that result from hiring former employees have been well-documented for many years, but corporate leadership is often reluctant to invest in alumni programs until they see the results for themselves.
  • The referring alumnus receives the benefit of helping out a friend as well as their former employer. Some companies also offer rewards to those who refer new employees to them; even a small gesture like recognition in an alumni newsletter can vastly improve the relationship between alumni and their former employers.


With the right approach to alumni network referrals and the resources to properly screen and qualify them, you can exponentially improve your candidate pool for open positions. To learn about how Insala can help you establish an alumni system that facilitates referrals, schedule a tailored demo of our alumni software.

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