Refer a Friend: 15 Employee Referral Programs That Offer Serious Cash

May 01, 2015 - Joe Matar
Last year, Silicon Valley startup ThoughtSpot made headlines by offering a $20,000 referral bonus to employees or “friends of the company” who brought in top talent. Twenty grand is on the higher end for employee referral bonuses, but referral perks are quite common: many companies offer them to encourage employees to bring in talent from their networks. Sometimes, you don't even have to work for the company to be eligible for a referral bonus — some firms are happy to pay out to anyone for successful referrals. High-demand professions like IT and trucking are most likely to provide these bonuses. Many staffing firms provide bonuses for referring not only successful job seekers, but also potential client companies that would want to be matched with employees. To help you cash in, here are 15 companies that provide bonuses for the simple action of recommending a friend. These perks are lucrative enough to make you want to refer a friend! (Click here to tweet this list of companies.)

1. HubSpot

Hubspot offers a $10,000 referral bonus for adding full-time developers and designers to the team. Employees of the company receive unlimited vacation and tuition reimbursement, among other perks. These bonuses are not limited to current employees, though. Anyone can refer someone and cash in on the $10,000 payday if the person you recommend is successfully hired and works for the company for 120 days with good performance. (You can't refer yourself, though. Bummer!)

2. Epicor

This business software company offers employees a $1,500 referral bonus (minus payroll deductions). The fine print says, “You should personally know the candidate you are referring — mass uploads of speculative resumes will not be accepted.” Referring current or former employees won’t cut it, either. There’s also a bonus for part-time employees, but be sure to check the rules and policies before trying to cash in.

3. Verdus

Veredus gives its consultants gift cards for referring IT professionals who are hired for permanent or contract roles. For a permanent employee referral, consultants receive a $250 Visa gift card, and for contract employees, they receive a $250 Visa gift card plus another $100 for every 90-day period during which both the referrer and the referee are still with the company. Veredus is looking for programmers, developers, network and system admin engineers, and a variety of other IT candidates.

4. Talon

This staffing company offers a $500 referral bonus to anyone who provides a candidate who gets hired in a technology role. Or, you can refer an open job to Talon and, if the hiring company chooses to use the staffing firm, you’ll receive $1,000.

5. Aramark

Aramark's employee referral program provides cash bonuses to Aramark employees who submit successful candidates for consideration. Current Aramark employees who want to refer someone must have an electronic copy of the prospective candidate's resume.

6. Atlassian

Software firm Atlassian, which has offices in Austin, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Sydney, Australia, offers up to $10,000 for employee referrals. Their careers page doesn’t offer many more details, but that’s one of the higher bonuses on this list!

7. Dart Trucking

This trucking firm offers bonuses up to $2,000 to current owner-operators who refer a successful candidate to the company. You’ll have to get the details internally, through fleet managers and recruiters.

8. ATS

Trucking firm ATS offers bonuses for employees who refer candidates who stick with the company for at least six months. They’ll pay $1,000, split into two increments: $500 when the driver starts and $500 after a successful six-month run.

9. Excel Partners

This recruiting firm in Connecticut and New York specializes in providing candidates in accounting and finance, administrative support, IT, and more to employers. They seek pre-qualified candidates and are always on the lookout for new professionals. Bonuses range from $50 to $200 for any candidates they’ve placed or companies they’ve worked with who refer job candidates and client companies.

10. Ag 1 Source

Ag 1 Source’s bonus program is open to anyone who refers qualified candidates for current or future positions with the company. You'll receive a bonus of up to $500 if the person is successfully placed with one of the company's clients and begins work.

11. Dell

The computer giant has an employee referral bonus policy, but the policies and procedures (including payout amounts) and locked behind the company's intranet. If you work for Dell, be sure to check out the payout amounts and consider recommending a qualified friend.

12. Waddell & Reed

Financial services firm Waddell & Reed offers varying referral bonuses for its employees, who are expected to do a bit of groundwork to make sure the potential referral is a good candidate. Bonuses can range from $250 for part-time employees to $1,000 for “difficult to fill” roles.

13. SolarStaff

If you’re in the solar industry, take note: SolarStaff is looking for semiconductor professionals. Their $500 bonuses are paid out on the new hire’s 90th day of full-time employment, and you don’t have to work for them to refer someone.

14. Plante Moran

According to Crain's, demand for accounting professionals is so high in Detroit that some companies, including Plante Moran, are paying referral bonuses of up to $5,000.

15. J Hill’s Staffing Services

This staffing agency offers a $500 bonus for referring job-seeking candidates the company can place. Referring a client company for a direct-hire job will net you $600. Something to consider if you have any qualified friends! We’d love to hear your success stories with referral bonuses. Have you cashed in any? Do you know of any other employer referral programs we should add to this list? Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.