How to start a recruitment referral scheme

If we’ve learned anything about LinkedIn’s change of direction since Microsoft ownership, then it’s not through signposting but experience. Microsoft took a gamble on the value of self-populated datasets when it looked to the revenue of Facebook combined with the potential for Office suite integration. It’s already arrived. We now find LinkedIn profile cards in Outlook, and a ‘resume assistant’ in Word. However, the trend we’ve experienced more than any other is the social aspect of job hunting. The sharing culture that found its way to create viral posts of office perks, away days and rags-to-riches stories has spread into ‘seeking a new challenge’.

This of course need not be a negative! A new wave of technical democracy has gifted hiring managers and job seekers with access to (previously ambiguous) signals that create conversation. ‘What’s this city like for opportunities?’ and ‘Come work for me!’ fly through our timelines.


These posts are often couched in a gentleman’s agreement but the off-network portals are catching on; and are turning to ways to convert conversations into candidates. As Zupa launches its own Refer a Professional programme, zupaJobs is sharing the headlines to consider when creating a recruitment referral scheme.

Mirror previous success

Zupa has two successful recruitment-specific streams in action – our Graduate Software Developer programme and our in-house employee refer-a-friend scheme. Each took many months of research, planning and testing. Under our continuous improvement cycle, we regularly check to ensure the offers are:

  • attractive/competitive
  • provide a return on investment.

Refer a Professional combines the best of both programmes. For your own efforts, you’ll need to ensure:

  • how do you measure success
  • clear layout of expectations for all parties
  • clear instructions both through terms and call to action
  • means of contact for interested parties, outside of the contact form

Check your GDPR compliance

In line with your Privacy Policy, your Data Protection Officer must guide your through these considerations:

  • consent gained from both the referrer and the candidate
  • whether the level of information you request is proportionate and appropriate to the action
  • how long you keep data for and what is necessary
  • how individuals may request their data files
  • all parties’ right to be forgotten
  • what is the impact of the processing on the individual
  • are you able to stop the processing at any time on request

Tax implications of gift vouchers

Your spend request cannot be your only exposure to your finance department. Whilst the taxable limits around gifts for employees have recently changed (named ‘Trivial Benefits‘), you will need to examine how to remain compliant for non-employees – and who counts as ‘related’ parties. Examples include:

  • how you must give a gift voucher reward and not cash
  • what is classed as tax deductible in the HMRC Business Income Manual?

Disclaimer: This material is for review and informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance. Please seek your own advice.

Do you know a job seeker with the talent and experience to become a successful zupaJobs candidate? Check out our Refer a Professional page.

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