Want a job at Apple, Facebook or Microsoft? Get a referral.

Avery Hartmans for Business Insider just published a really interesting article about what it’s like interviewing for the top 5 tech companies (MicrosoftAmazonGoogleFacebook and Apple). The article was really interesting— but what struck me the most is how many people got work through an employee referral.

Those numbers range from 14% (Amazon) to 29% (Apple). It’s highly likely that the referral numbers are actually much higher than reported because my assumption is that these reports are based off of an ATS data pull of new hires who listed a connection on their application.

What does this mean? Referred candidates have better odds of getting hired. U.S. News & World Report reports that when an employee refers someone, that candidate is hired about two-thirds of the time. The higher the person referring you is on the corporate ladder, the better your chances of getting hired.

Almost all candidates (91%) referred by a director level or above were hired, versus 53% of hired referrals from an entry-level candidate. If you do know top level executives, reach out to them first. Don’t be shy about asking for an internal referral. You should know that if you are hired, many corporations have referral incentive programs (aka they could get $$).

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