moneyIf you’ve ever been jilted from an employee referral bonus internally, you’re not alone.

Maybe that’s because you worked in another area of HR so it was excluded. Maybe the person was a temp-to-hire situation and not a full-on full-time hire. Whatever the case, the program didn’t pay out like it should have. (No, we’re not bitter or anything.)

That’s why we’re pumped to share news about innovative employee referral programs which have been extended externally. That’s right — we said externally. As in bonuses are being awarded to people off the street for referring A-list candidates who get hired. Cha-ching!

According to The Wall Street Journal, some companies are going above and beyond their current employees to build pipelines of strong candidates. Per HR consulting firm CareerXroads, it’s certainly the right path to pursue. That’s because 25 percent of all new hires are sourced by referrals.

In certain areas where demand exceeds supply (think technology), it’s pretty challenging for recruiters to source candidates. Might as well keep all of the options open, right?

Now, from a freelancer’s perspective, we know what you’re thinking. That’s cool companies are expanding their programs but what if I know someone to refer? How can I earn some cash?

Just look to Squarespace, a start-up based in New York City that helps users build their own websites. Although the bonus wasn’t exactly a huge payday, they recently started to offer a free plane ticket to New York City to anyone who refers an engineer or product designer. There’s one caveat: the referral is only bankable once the candidate is actually hired. Your odds are pretty good because they strive to hire 30 professionals by the March 15.

Per the piece, they received more than 567 applications since February 4. Approximately 65 resumes have been sent by non-employee referrals which seems like a great response.

Considering most cost of hires can range from $10,000 to $20,000 per person, a plane ticket in comparison is literally peanuts.