4imprint, LLC

| Updated: March 25, 2024

Recruitment is no walk in the park. Sixty-five percent of recruiters say there’s a shortage of talent, making it increasingly difficult to find suitable candidates. Another 46 percent, according to the same article, say finding the right person is the number one obstacle to hiring. Many human-resource professionals are turning to their employees for help by implementing employee referral programs.

There are many benefits to an employee referral program. First, it can shave precious time off the amount of days (or weeks or months) it takes to get a candidate through the hiring process. It can also save money. There is no recruitment cost when an employee promotes your company’s open positions. Finally, employee referral programs can increase employee retention. According to one study, 56 percent of people hired through an employee referral remained at their job more than five years. Does this sound like a win-win situation? Check out these tips on running a successful employee referral program. We also offer ideas for promotional thank-you gifts to use as employee referral rewards.

Employee referral program success tips and promotional thank-you gift ideas


Make sure your team knows which jobs are available and what you’re looking for in a candidate. Team meetings are a great place to discuss your company’s open positions. Use this time to tell staff about immediate openings and high-priority roles that need to be filled. Provide approved language for easy (and compliant) social media posting, and encourage employees to share with their networks. Enter those who do share into a prize drawing for promotional thank-you gifts—company logo’d power banks or charging kits make great prizes.

Use recruitment cards

Recruitment cards allow employees to take their referral efforts on the road. Imprint Post-it® business cards with the message “Now Hiring!” Include contact details and a place for the referrer’s name—for instance, “<insert employee name> thinks I’m a great fit!” This not only gets a candidate’s foot in the door, it’s a great way to track employee referral efforts. Don’t forget to reward staff who go the extra mile to find qualified candidates. A branded Contigo® sport bottle  makes a great employee referral reward.

Host meet and greets

Host a referral breakfast or hors d’oeuvres event employees can invite their connections to network. Not only is this a great way to wrangle a lot of talent into one room, it allows the entire team to meet potential candidates prior to the formal interview process. Send attendees (referrer and referred, alike) off with a thank-you gift. A smartphone wallet or folding phone stand would be a good choice.

Offer a tiered reward program

Your goal is clear: to hire qualified candidates. But all referral efforts should be encouraged. Use a tiered reward program to recognize team members for their efforts, regardless if their referred candidate was hired. Offer employee referral rewards to associates whose candidates reach milestones in the hiring process: phone screening, interview and full-fledged hire. Rewards can range from ear buds to a Bluetooth® speaker.


An effective employee referral program can save your company both time and money. Use these tips plus employee referral rewards and watch your pool of qualified applicants grow. Best of luck!