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How to get referrals?

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Data Engineer at Financial Companya year ago

What are some good ways to approach getting referrals to top companies I want to apply to? Is it even worth spending the time pursuing the referral, or should I just apply?



  • 29
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    Meta, Robinhood, Baidu
    a year ago

    Do good work, add value to other people's work and make a great impression. They will remember you. They will refer you because they genuinely want to have you on their team, not because of the referral bonus.

    When I joined Facebook back in 2012 (the IPO year), one director said this in private: You already missed the opportunity to make a huge amount of money here (because IPO already happened). There are a lot of amazing people here at Facebook. You want them to remember you when they think of starting their own companies and ask you to be their cofounder. You goal in the next few years should be putting out good work and making a great impression with your colleagues.

    I didn't become a cofounder but this turned out to be mostly true. When one of my skip manager at Facebook joined Robinhood as a VP he remembered me and invited me to interview. We met and he was like "since you have offers from other companies already it doesn't hurt to interview with us and have another option if you get the offer, right" He let me skip the phone screen and go straight to onsite to expedite the process. I negotiated hard with the recruiter (also from Facebook) after getting the offer and he was like "I would have stopped talking to you if not for our VP wanting to have you". I negotiated a top of the band (in the level I got) offer in the end.

    Think of how many people from your current company will make it to the top companies you want to join. Think of who they are. (They are probably the best people in your current company.) Find ways to work with them and build something great together.

  • 15
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    What are some good ways to approach getting referrals to top companies I want to apply to?

    There's 2 main ways:

    1. Going through people you know - As Cat alluded to, this is the best way. The point of referrals from the company's perspective is for employees to bring in high-quality people they know. As the job seeker, you get these by being valuable to people and building a deep relationship with them - There's no magic here. Even if you're gunning for a top company like FAANG and don't know anybody there, you can lay the "groundwork" for it today by connecting with talented people at your current company. Over time, some of these folks will make it into those top companies you desire, and if you have maintained that relationship, you can get a very warm referral from them. I highly recommend going through our networking masterclass if you haven't already: [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech
    2. Finding people doing "referral farms" - There are some people who just want $$$ and farm the referral bonus. They use very public places like LinkedIn and Blind to get leads. I personally don't like this as it makes their referrals meaningless, but if you happen to stumble upon one for a target company, you could try it as it's probably better than nothing. However, keep in mind that their referral for you will be very weak, as they don't know you at all. Most companies have a "Why are you referring this person?" field when submitting the referral, and if you're going through a referral farmer, they will either have nothing or a weak cookie-cutter response here.

    Is it even worth spending the time pursuing the referral, or should I just apply?

    If you have a warm referral, you should wait, but if you don't, you should just apply. You want to avoid a situation like this:

    1. You see a job posting you like.
    2. You try to fish for a cold referral on places like LinkedIn. This bleeds across many weeks with no results as the vast majority of people actually want their referrals to mean something and therefore don't refer strangers.
    3. The job posting you like gets taken down as you were wasting time with #2.

    Referrals, like networking, are a long-term game. You only win when you put in the work and strive to add value to others. It's hard to find shortcuts to this inherently human system, which is why I don't recommend trying.

  • 17
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    Evaluate where you have an unfair advantage:

    • You have a deep working relationship with someone at the company.
    • You have expertise/side projects/passion for what they're working on
    • You have a shared background (alumni, geography, gender) with someone who can refer you

    Use these to decide if it's worth cultivating the relationship.