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Employee-based referrals key in recruiting talent

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Adaptik Corp. recently was named one of the "Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania" for the fourth consecutive year. It's a designation in which we take particular pride; our success is driven by our team, and retaining top talent in a competitive industry means providing a superior workplace environment.

Of course, you can't retain what you don't have in the first place. That's why Adaptik puts a significant amount of emphasis on attracting the best possible engineers, analysts and account managers. And we have found that employee referrals play a key role in our recruiting and hiring.

In fact, we do most of our hiring via referral; around 70 percent of our current employees were referred to us. We've found that this strategy consistently helps us attract high-quality candidates, since they're actively sought out and prescreened by existing employees who know the role and the company.

Hiring based on referrals saves recruiting time and results in a low percentage of nonsuitable applicants. Our employees know the company culture and tend to refer only those who align with it.

This results in new employees who "get up to speed" quickly and fit into the team from day one, translating into better on-the-job performance and low employee turnover.

How do we choose which referred applicants are interviewed? Simple: We have a long-standing policy of interviewing any and all candidates who are referred by employees.

At Adaptik, we believe that if an employee can speak to a candidate's skill in a potential role, it's worth at least speaking to them.

And it's worked; a recent referral would have been rejected outright with a resume-only submission, but turned out to be a perfect fit in an in-person interview.

A referral-based recruiting process allows us to hire quickly. We keep the interview process moving, because nothing kills candidate enthusiasm like the appearance of indecision.

We begin with phone interviews (for remote applicants) or one-day on-site meetings (for locals and those who pass the phone phase). There's little wasted time after that; we generally make the decision the same day as the face-to-face interview.

We also "prime the pump" and keep a few folks in the wings. In the event that we find a highly qualified applicant who does not meet our existing needs, is bound to a specific location or has a temporary life event preventing him or her from starting immediately, we often provide a contingent offer, awaiting the next project or change in need.

This allows us to pull the trigger quickly; when a need arises, we can have a new employee within weeks – rather than beginning the hiring process from scratch.

Michael Overend is vice president for operations and customer support at Adaptik Corp. of Bethlehem, a provider of next generation policy administration solutions for property and casualty insurance carriers. He can be reached at moverend@adaptik.com.

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