Is a referral useful/ useless once the application has been submitted?

AT Kearney Bain & Company BCG Oliver Wyman Referral
Anonymous A asked on Apr 21, 2020

Hi there,

I'm sorry if this is a silly question. I'm still relatively new to the consulting world and the application system. I applied to BCG, Bain, OW, ATK, AlixPartners so far without a referral but continued to network with people from some of these companies. I'm not sure whether it is too late for a referral to be of value now that my CV etc has been submitted? I have not asked any of the people I spoke to as had already applied. I have not heard back from any of the above except Bain which has called me for first round interviews.

on May 01, 2020
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on May 01, 2020
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Hi there,

You can still try. But do tell the person who you are asking for the referal, that you already applied, so he/she can relay that info to HR when referring you. If your CV has not been screened yet, that could increase your chance of securing an interiview spot. If your CV has been filtered out, then depending on how close this person is to you and how senior he/she is, there might still be possible to get you a 2nd chance. (But he/she needs to be senior enough to have an influence.)




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Hi, referral would help you to get the interview or get the interview faster. However, it will not influence the result, it is purely based on your performance.

However, if you keep networking with people in the firm, you will get the benefit by maybe getting tips to pass the interview or even get a couple of interview practice with people working in the firm.


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Hi there,

it depends on whether the CV has been screened or not:

  • If it has not been screened, a referral could still be useful. However, since you have formally already applied, the person won’t get the referral bonus if you are successful
  • If it has been screened, the referral won’t help in case of a negative outcome, unless the person has seniority strong enough to influence the HR decision (eg a partner) and wants to vouch for you



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Of course it is useful. Referral helps you to receive an answer earlier and even after that your cv has been submitted, you can boost the process through a referral. Sometimes you are asked to do the online application even if you have a referral, there is no problem in this.



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Hi Anonymous,

Referrals are still useful after you submitted your application. Ideally the referral would have happened beforehand, it's clear.

However, as long as you did not get any rejection the referral still helps to secure your interviews, especially if it's from a senior person (partner, director level ideally at McKinsey).

Even in case you got rejected, partners/directors can still "overrule" a decision by HR since they can and should do pretty much whatever they think that brings the most value to the company - given the appropriate supporting argumentation in a meritocratic culture. So in that case there must be a very clear and solid argument in your favour which might have overlooked/undervalued by HR. So even after a rejection, a referral might work ... but it gets very tough already...

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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No, it´s not too late, since the CV is now in the pipeline.

A referral would ensure that it does not get lost in the "limbo" and you get an interview.

Hence, totally worth it

Good luck,


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Hi there,

Of course, it may depend on the company and its recruiting processes, but I'd say it's always a good thing to have a referral if a person is willing to do that for you. I don't see any downside or harm in doing that (worst case scenario, they'll just get you feedback from the recruiting team), on the other hand, there's a chance that it'll play in your favor (best case scenario, it'll boost your chances to get invited to the interview). Hence, the way I see it: there's an upside and there's no downside.

Hope this helps!
Best regards,


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Hi, yes it is still useful. In case you get it you will discuss with the consultant if you need to withdraw the existing application or not. I recommend working on it - especially in this period - because it can really help you in accelerating the process or making it happen



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Dear A,

Regarding your question, it all depends on how mature is your status of application. In general, I would say that referrals maximize your chances of being invited, while still not giving you 100% of guarantee.

If you have a contact person within the company it would be really great, if they could follow up on your current application statement status.And getting back to you, maybe they could also put a good word for you for recruiting team which will result in your interview invite.

Hope it helps you


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Emily gave the best answer


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