I've had some questions lately about Microsoft's employee referral process; specifically whether it's a good way for potential candidates to get noticed by Microsoft recruiters. The answer is "yes" but let me tell you a little bit more about how it works. Keep in mind that this may differ for campus/MBA hiring...what I am talking about below is our process for what we call "industry" candidates: 

Officially...

We have an internal website here for employees to use to refer candidates. The website allows the employee to enter info about the candidate, including their resume and some comments on the candidate ("I worked with Jane and she is really good at product strategy in the small and medium business segment"...that kind of thing). This is the official process for referring candidates. It is especially useful when the employee doesn't have a number of internal contacts within the functional area that the candidate works in.

All of these resumes go into our applicant tracking database. Recruiters do look to see where candidates come from so knowing that a candidate was referred by an employee does help. When someone enters a candidate into the system and identifies "marketing" as an area of experience for the candidate, I get the resume in my inbox. From there, I'll review the resume and identify marketing recruiters that could have an interest. It's just a little extra assistance that I am willing to offer to get the resume into the right hands quickly. Not all functional groups at Microsoft do this...what can I say? I like helping you guys get your resume in front of the right people.

Unofficially...

We find that some resumes of referred candidates take a more circuitous route to Staffing. For legal reasons, we are required to track everyone that "applies" to Microsoft so once we, in Staffing, are aware that a resume has been received by anyone at Microsoft, we get it into the system right away. This also makes the resume search-able by recruiters. But I can also see the value in the resume being shared among the internal network via e-mail (that is in addition to being entered into the system, folks). A reputable marketing pro here can really get the attention of a hiring manager and their referral of a candidate can bear weight because of the referring employee's positive reputation. I think this is goodness. So I do encourage people out there, that might be looking, to reach out to folks they know at Microsoft to network. Just please make sure that your resume is also getting to us in staffing (and you know you can always send it to me if you want to just get it into the system).

Expectations...

Someone asked why they had not been called after being referred by a Microsoft employee. We actually receive a large volume of referrals. I've explained before why we cannot follow up with everyone individually and this an unfortunate reality. Follow up will occur if a recruiter finds a potential match for your background.

So ultimately, the value of being referred by a Microsoft employee is:

1) If you are a marketing candidate, your resume is routed directly (by yours truly) to the appropriate marketing recruiters.

2) The fact that someone referred you adds additional credibility to your application, both with recruiters and potential hiring managers

3) If you have a strong advocate in the marketing space here, there's a strong possibility that they will actively endorse you to hiring groups here.

Hope this gives you some insight into the value of and execution around our employee referral process.