What to Put for “Referral Source” When Applying for a Job?

What to Put for “Referral Source” When Applying for a Job?

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One of the common interview questions asked is, “how were you referred to us?” or “how did you learn about this job?” This means they’re asking for the person or institution that directed the applicant for potential employment.

When applying for a job, applicants can put the person or the organization who referred them. They can also indicate the job search engine, newspaper advertisement, TV or radio commercial, or social media post where they saw the job posting.

This article will discuss the typical referral sources that job applicants can put in. We’ll also explore ways of getting job referrals, so stick around. 

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Job Referral Sources

Companies ask applicants during the application process where they found their job postings, which might include the following: 

  • A post on an online job board.
  • A job search engine.
  • A newspaper advertisement.
  • TV or radio commercials.
  • Social media posts advertising a job opening on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

However, it’s usually someone else who referred an applicant to a job posting. According to Jobvite, 78% of recruiters found that applicants who were referred by someone else are more likely to be hired. The referral source could be: 

  • A family member or relative
  • A friend
  • An acquaintance
  • Your school teacher
  • Your neighbor
  • A stranger who happens to come across you and your resume.

The most common source of job referrals done by a person is through employee referral programs. Most companies offer this scheme to fill vacancies within their organization while providing monetary incentives to their employees for spreading the word and referring someone they know to them.

The referring employee receives the reward once the person they referred to has been hired.

Headhunters, staffing agencies, or third-party recruiters can also refer job applicants to a company seeking employees. Employers usually pay these third-party providers once an applicant is hired.

Schools and colleges can also serve as referral sources. These institutions have a career or alumni office that can refer its students or graduates to companies that offer jobs. Some companies send their representatives to meet or interview students on the school premises.

Virtual and face-to-face job fairs and conferences can also be cited as a referral source by job applicants who attended the event.

How To Get Job Referrals

If you want to get hired quickly, here are the ways you can explore to get referred to the job you want. While you can look at the job want-ads, it’s much better to get a direct job referral. Let’s talk more about how to get these coveted job referrals.

Find Someone To Refer You

If you’re a fresh graduate from college, you can go to the career or alumni office. Some companies provide job postings to them, and they may refer you to them for potential employment.

You can also reach out to your family and friends to ask if they know of a job posting. There’s a high probability that they will refer you to their contact and connect you to them. If they’re the ones looking for someone to refer to, you can also ask them about their company’s hiring process.

If you’ve established connections or networks, check your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts to see the people working for the company you’re trying to apply to. They may be able to help you in submitting your job application.

Attending events like job fairs, alumni homecoming, and conferences is another chance to meet new people and industry leaders who can refer you to a job opening. Be sure to have your resume with you in case you need to provide one.

Ask Someone for Referrals

You can ask someone to refer you by sending a letter, an email, or a direct message on LinkedIn or other social media websites. Your message should be direct, to the point, and has a polite tone. 

Mentioning a mutual friend or acquaintance can help in securing that referral. Give a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae to that person, especially if you don’t know each other.


There are numerous referral sources job applicants can put in during their application process, which can include online job advertisements, personal or institutional referrals, and social media posts. 

The most common referral source is employee referral programs, where companies incentivize their employees once the person they referred gets hired. 

The best way to get job referrals is to look around your network and send a message. Don’t forget to give a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae so they know your competencies and can vouch for you.