Want to know if you’re a descendant of Genghis Khan?
All you have to do is refer a software engineer looking for a job to DNAnexus, a Silicon Valley-based start up. If they hire the guy or gal you get $20,000 and your full genome sequenced, something that could cost thousands of dollars if you did it on your own.
It’s a unique offer for a unique problem — a company having trouble finding enough workers to hire. In this economy, with 14 million Americans out of work, it might seem strange that an employer would go to such lengths to hire employees, but in some areas of the country and in some sectors, including technology, there supposedly aren’t enough workers to go around.
And surprisingly, companies offering referral bonuses are up overall, according to the Society for Human Resource Management:
In 2011, 63 percent of organizations reported using hiring bonuses, and 41 percent used or were planning to use retention bonuses.
In addition, 66 percent of respondents reported having an employee referral bonus program (up from 59 percent in mid-2010).
“During the economic downturn, many employers reduced staff and asked remaining employees to do more with less. As the job market improves, these organizations are using tactics such as employee referral bonus programs to not only attract proven performers but also help retain the employees who make referrals,” said Kathi Myers, director at Buck Consultants. “Involvement in the hiring process engages employees and strengthens their ties to the organization.”
Such bonuses range from $500 for clerical worker referrals to about $2,500 for executive hires, according to a WorldatWork study.
So DNAnexus’ referral bonus sounds way over the top, no? Well, not to the company’s CEO and co-founder, Andreas Sundquist, PhD. (more…)