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Referral Is Not A Shortcut To Offers

One thing that I have noticed among many job seekers, international students in particular, is that they are obsessed with internal referral, also known as employee referral.

They naively believe that getting referred by a current employee is the shortcut to a great job offer.

But this is just not true, especially in Canada where hiring decisions are made on a meritocracy basis.

Put yourself in the shoes of the employer, what are they trying to accomplish in the recruiting process?

Hiring the best candidate possible to fill a job opening.

If your resume is average and your interview performance is mediocre, do you really think that you will outcompete better candidates (who just applied directly) and magically land the offer, simply because you are referred by someone working at the company?

More importantly, if you indeed somehow landed the offer while not being the best candidate, is this an organization that you want to be part of?

I am sorry but someone has to wake you out of the dream that referral is a magic bullet. It is not.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that internal referral is completely useless. If you get referred by someone, your application usually has a higher chance of getting noticed by the recruiter. But if your resume is not optimal and your interview performance fails to meet the hiring manager’s expectations, I highly doubt you will get an offer.

To sum it up, I want you to have a realistic understanding of what role a referral plays in hiring decisions and stop having the false hope of magically landing great offers without putting in the work.

I recommend that you prioritize working on what truly matters in the job search process – such as perfecting your resume, acquiring industry knowledge, expanding your professional network, preparing for interview questions and improving your communication skills.

Until you master those hard job search skills and develop yourself into a top candidate, trying to get some employee to refer you is a waste of time. Keep in mind, referral is icing on the cake.


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