Using an ATS for Employee Referrals: All You Need to Know

Using ATS software for employee referrals is a strategy that can streamline recruitment and minimize errors in the referral program.

It is estimated that about 60% of all companies use recruitment software or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for employee referrals the recruitment process. When using an ATS or any other recruitment software, companies could probably find great candidates who have applied to open positions, but it often amounts to way too many choices. Employee referral programs are a valuable source for finding some great candidates. Candidates referred by existing employees are often hired faster than candidates reached through external recruitment efforts.

Also, you can’t always tell if applicants would get the seal of approval from the employee’s network. The solution? Automatically using data from your ATS in your referral process to automate the entire process. By using degrees of connections and data, some ATS allows recruiters to automatically show the connections.

Share Job Postings Automatically

Sharing job postings automatically according to a schedule allows employees to expect referral opportunities in the future. When position openings are shared only once, employees may miss the post and the chance to share it within their networks.

When deciding upon a posting schedule, researching to discover the times that employees are most active on the software, and scheduling the referral program in advance can lead to greater effectiveness.

Makes Jobs Shareable Through Employee Portals

Linking the ATS with the HR software that employees regularly use can make it easier for employees to share job opportunities through their social media accounts and email.

When checking shareability, look for links on job posts that allow employees to automatically share job openings with just a few clicks. The quicker and simpler jobs are to share, the more likely your employees will be to participate.

Set Up Referral Tracking

Employee referral tracking can be hectic if it’s done manually. For best results, automated referral tracking in the ATS should be linked right through the portal that’s initially used to share the position opening.

Candidates may not know how to give their connections credit for referring, if there is a field that’s automatically filled in on their application with information about the referring employee, for example, using the Employee ID, referral tracking may be much more efficient.

Make Referral Incentives Public

Providing an incentive for employee referrals can boost a referral program. If employees know that they will be receiving a bonus or even a small reward for each referral that leads to a hire, it can be highly motivating.

To increase motivation further and perhaps add a hint of competition, recruiters can also make employee referrals public. When employees see that their peers are referring their acquaintances, it may inspire them to get their friends on board with the company.

It may also be a reward in itself for employees to see their name in a positive light to the management after referring to a new employee.

Use ATS Data for Candidate Filtering

When an ATS is used for an employee referral program, it makes more filtering tools readily available. The ATS can be used as usual to filter candidates based on keywords or qualifications, but it can also be possible to use the software to see how many candidates are connected via social networks and other contact information to the existing employees.

In a close situation between several candidates, this may be a tie-breaker in making a hiring decision, because this can prove the authenticity of an employee referral rather than not a genuine one(by proving that the employee personally knows the candidate he/she referring to).

How Employee Referral Program works with the ATS

1. Employee Referrals Portal

Set up referral campaigns for the relevant job posts and invite employees to log in to their referral portal and employee can also track the status of the referred candidate and status of their rewards

Create rewards if the candidate gets hired to encourage the sharing of campaigns.

Campaigns are created around your jobs and your employees can easily help you hire by sharing the jobs on their social channels (Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook), by sharing the link or by simply adding the referred candidate’s details.

2. Tracked Referrals

All employee referrals are fully tracked within the ATS with each referred candidate flagged in the dashboard.

The details of the employee who has made the referral appears on the referred candidates profile allowing you to fully track the success of your employee referral campaigns.

3. Employee Referral Reports

The referrals dashboard in the ATS gives you all the information to make your employee referral campaigns a success.

From here you can see which employees have logged in to their referrals portal, how many times they have logged in, and how many candidates they have referred.


An ATS can be useful in setting up and maintaining a highly effective employee referral program as part of a proactive hiring plan. Using ATS for employee referral programs can save management as well as HR and recruiter’s time while ensuring that referral records are kept accurately and employees are recognized and rewarded accordingly for their efforts.

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