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buddy hiring

Two for the Price of One: Are Buddy Hiring Programs Actually Effective?

Consider this scenario – you’re interviewing for a new job, and halfway through you begin to think that you might be better off sticking with your current employer. You’ve negotiated salary, benefits, vacation days… if only there was something else they could throw in to sweeten the deal.

So they add another incentive. If you take the job, one of your talented friends can also join their team and work alongside you. Would you reconsider their offer?


Buddy Hiring Programs


buddy hiring program is precisely what it sounds like – you apply to a job along with one of your friends, and if you’re both good fits for the positions available, you could end up working together on your first day.

To many, it sounds too outrageous to be considered a worthwhile idea – a program like this could end up slashing productivity significantly. Though anyone can imagine the number of potential cons in this situation, that hasn’t stopped companies from using the unique hiring option to attract candidates.

Canadian McDonalds and the U.S. Army are two entities that have recently implemented buddy hiring programs, resulting in positive public attention and an increased number of applicants that may not have been interested otherwise. While the culture and structure of the prior examples are far different than a typical B2B or B2C organization, could a buddy hiring program actually have a net positive effect in your workplace?

Dr. John Sullivan, an experienced talent manager and HR thought-leader from Silicon Valley, proposes a few benefits of buddy hiring programs that could save your organization remarkable amounts of money.


Buddy Hiring Benefits



Half your recruiting costs, double your hiring volume – for every candidate you interview, there’s another in the pipeline. Not only will the primary candidate save you time and resources by selling your company to their colleague, if they’re talented and hardworking it’s likely that the friend they’re bringing along is too.

Free marketing – as is the case with anything controversial, people can’t help but be intrigued by the rare incentive. Offering a buddy hiring option is bound to turn some heads, and they’ll all be looking in your direction.

Higher offer acceptance – talented passive candidates are comfortable remaining where they’re at. Switching jobs is a process, especially if your professional reputation and relationships at your current job are well-established.

Passive candidates may not be up to the challenge of finding their place in a new hierarchy and organizational structure, but giving them the option to bring a colleague along may be the incentive they need to consider joining your company.


Addressing Understandable Concerns


Of course, buddy hiring is not the perfect solution to increasing acquisition or the number of offers candidates accept. However, the distinctive hiring program can be altered to best suit your organization’s needs. To spell out a few suggestions:

You don’t have to lower your hiring standards – if the primary hire is exceptional in his work and his colleague is merely average, there’s no requirement stating you have to make both hires. The beauty of this hiring option is because it’s exactly that – an option.

Limit the timeframe of the work assignment – the talented candidates you’re bringing on board shouldn’t expect to work on the same projects together forever. Set a timeframe of 3 or 6 months before sending them to work on different assignments – by this point they’ll be more comfortable in the new work environment.

Use metrics to determine effectiveness – as always, it’s critical that you use metrics to measure whether the option significantly improves the effectiveness and efficiency of your workplace. Example KPIs you could monitor include quality of hire, speed of hire, retention rates, and overall productivity.




Rather than buddy hiring being an option you openly advertise, it could be more effectively used as an ace up your sleeve – an approach you use only when or if a hiring situation calls for it. Consider reserving the option for highly-talented candidates who aren’t sure if they’re ready to leave their current job and colleagues yet, and you might see a marked increase in the amount of passive candidates interested in joining your team.

Do you think a buddy hiring program could be successfully implemented in your workplace, or would it end up being mostly ineffective? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn or Facebook pages and let us know what you think!


If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now. 

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