Should you sign off on a sign-on bonus?

By Daniel Abramson, HRSource

Most employers are familiar with employee referral programs, a recruiting tactic in which employees are incentivized to produce high-quality candidate leads in exchange for a cash bonus.

Employee referrals are always going to be an excellent source of candidates, as they tend to convert into hires at a rate that’s 13 times higher than applicants from job boards.

But you might want to also consider offering a bonus to the applicants themselves.

If your objective is to make your job posting stand out from competitors — and it should be — then offering a cash signing bonus is a great recruiting tactic. This may be a new strategy for you as an employer, but we’re in experimentation mode in today’s world. You’re going to have to get creative to attract great employees to your roles.

When you consider the cost of the time you’d spend recruiting, as well as job advertisements and other recruitment marketing costs, it’s not too far-fetched to instead divert some of that budget directly into your new hires’ pockets. It also serves as a signal to other job seekers that a company values talent.

For employers who are nervous about implementing a cash bonus program, you can always add a stipulation that the signing bonus will be paid after a specified probationary period has passed.

Also, never include the compensation or the signing bonus in the job title on job boards. Major job boards remove jobs with title modifications. Instead, have a standard job title and attach the compensation to the job posting in the appropriate spot.

Happy hiring!

Daniel Abramson is managing lead of HRSource, a comprehensive collection of customized employment tools and turnkey solutions exclusive to BrandSource members. Contact Daniel at (540) 535-8484 or

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