Quest Global: Establishing trust as a go-to partner for the world’s most challenging engineering problems through talent-acquisition excellence

Delivering 2.5M topline impact through a 10X improvement in employee referrals


Quest Global is in the business of engineering, to build a brighter future. What makes it different is not what it does but why it does it. The engineering solutions company  believes engineering has the unique ability to solve the hardest problems of today that stand in the way of tomorrow. For 25 years, the firm has strived to be the most trusted partner for the world’s toughest  engineering problems. As a global organisation headquartered in Singapore, Quest Global is spread across 17 countries, with 56 global delivery centres, driven by 17,000+ extraordinary employees who make the impossible possible every day.

Quest Global brings deep industry knowledge and digital expertise to deliver E2E global product engineering services. It brings together technologies and industries alongside the contributions of diverse individuals and their areas of expertise to solve problems better and faster. This multi-dimensional approach enables it to solve the most critical and large-scale challenges across various industries, including aerospace & defense, automotive, energy, hi-tech, healthcare medical devices, rail and semiconductor industries.

TL:DR Attracting & Retaining high-quality talent in a Competitive Market

As product engineering service companies such as Quest Global continue to expand and evolve, they face several challenges. One of the biggest challenges is hiring and retaining expert talent. The need for more highly skilled and experienced engineers combined with the intense competition not only drives up salary but also causes revenue drain. This situation compels them to actively seek passive talent.

The leadership at Quest Global took the challenge head on. They married their vision of building high-quality talent pipelines with systematic data-driven execution to drive the desired outcomes.

Here’s the story of how Quest Global leveraged technology to fuel its strategic goals and enhanced its employee-referrals programme. This story got them a Silver award for excellence in talent acquisition from the prestigious Brandon Hall Group.

Challenges in building a strong talent pipeline

A strong talent pipeline is a must in order to solve tough engineering problems. Realising this, the leadership at Quest Global took a close look at the process followed at the company to attract new and right talent. Their evaluation led to interesting discoveries, challenges and limitations.


Changing workforce: Millennial and Gen Z candidates who form a substantial talent pool prioritise social and digital engagement. They prefer companies with strong online presence and a positive reputation.

Traditional methods: Job fairs and conventional referral techniques fall short when it comes to attracting the desired quantity and quality of candidates. This can stem from increased competition and evolving candidate preferences.

Diversity and inclusion: Quest aims to enhance workforce diversity. This requires a fresh recruitment approach and concerted efforts to connect with underrepresented groups.

The biggest challenge faced by Quest Global was attracting top talent, especially passive candidates. The traditional methods were clearly not enough to attract top notch talent. That is when the talent-acquisition (TA) function started drilling down on their employee referral channel.  While this programme had proven effective in the past, it came with its own limitations.

Limitations with previous referral process

Technology & user-friendliness: Lack of a central tool for promoting, tracking and gamifying the referral programme. The manual process was time consuming.

Transparency & engagement: Communication delays, tracking errors and limited visibility dampen employee enthusiasm. Identifying duplicate referrals was complex.

Reward system: The entire referral process was reactive. Employees tend to refer candidates only when a new opportunity arises or when someone in their network reaches out to them for a job opportunity. Moreover, determining the incentives (monetary or non-monetary) for employees remained a bigger challenge.

Referral quality: Quest Global used to receive applications in huge volumes. However, the lack of data and actionable insights made it difficult for the TA team to handle this process efficiently. Identifying suitable candidates took longer, extending hiring cycles and costs.

Visibility: Employees lacked clear details about available positions. Even in cases where they managed to find out about vacancies, they lacked visibility on the status of referrals. All of this was leading to uncertainty within the organisation and reduced interest in the referral process. Inadequate guidance and confusion regarding whom to contact or how to submit referrals also contributed to the problem.

Reach: Choosing between a targeted referral approach for specific roles or opening every position for referral presents a dilemma. Selective referrals attract top talent for crucial roles but can narrow the programme’s reach. Conversely, opening all positions to referrals can create a broad pool of potential candidates, yet it may also result in more lower-quality referrals and a less focused hiring process.

Referral database: The talent acquisition or TA team was exploring ways to utilise their current employee-referral database for staffing various roles.

Referral definition: What qualifies as a valuable referral? How to ensure employees understand the programme clearly?

Quest Global recognised that solving this complex challenge, involving multiple stakeholders, required adopting smart and adaptable talent-acquisition technology.

Transforming talent acquisition by leveraging technology

To address these challenges, Quest Global planned to create a centralised and structured referral programme. The goal was  to tap into its vast employees’ network and attract high-quality candidates efficiently, leading to better retention rates and increased employee engagement. The company believed that involving employees in the recruitment process would foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork, driving the organisation’s overall success.

Quest Global partnered with RippleHire, a market leader in talent-acquisition technology to drive innovative campaigns and reward employees who referred potential candidates, thereby also boosting the referral culture within the organisation. By using RippleHire’s user-friendly interface, employees could participate in fun contests, easily share job openings through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, and refer candidates effortlessly. The referral engine provided the TA team with the ability to run special campaigns and reward employees for referring talent to niche job openings.

Building a dynamic employee-referral programme

The TA team initiated a comprehensive approach to build a dynamic employee-referral programme. They launched an employee survey to gather feedback. Employees voiced their displeasure over the complicated referral process on the ATS, the struggle to identify right roles and lack of regular updates on referred applications.

Here are a few steps they followed to ensure the programme was as effective as planned:

1. Launching the programme on the RippleHire platform, Quest Global introduced an intuitive dashboard with essential elements such as referral status updates, contests and gamification features to ensure a smooth user experience.

2. The TA team fostered active participation through engaging emails, and innovative referral contests. The team also promoted top referrers both on social media and internal channels.

3. Attractive incentives, including cash bonuses and paid weekend getaways motivated employees to participate.

4. The programme’s integration into employee induction and the appointment of a dedicated programme manager further enhanced engagement.

5. Targeted efforts in specific locations and the use of a business-intelligence dashboard allowed data-driven decision-making and optimisation.

6. Lastly, seamless integration with the larger talent-management strategy and Single-Sign-On (SSO) functionality improved the employee experience. Additionally, critical process improvements and leadership involvement, along with recognition for top recruiters, strengthened the programme’s impact and encouraged ongoing participation.

Goals achieved



Building a proprietary sourcing channel


Collaboration with RippleHire helped Quest Global build a proprietary sourcing channel — a channel that streamlined the referral process. It also fostered better communication between recruiters and employees, and facilitated regular evaluation and measurement of the programme’s effectiveness.

Reduced candidate ghosting and no-shows


Leveraging the employees (‘Questians‘) as brand ambassadors significantly reduced candidate ghosting and no-shows, resulting in an impressive joining ratio of over 70 per cent.

Improved hiring speed / turn-around-time (TAT)


Pre-filled details in job applications helped recruiters efficiently assess and qualify candidates.

The streamlined process helped speed up feedback collection from hiring managers.
It was possible to quickly identify if referrals were fungible across different functions.

The comprehensive system had the ability to oversee the complete lifecycle of recruitment – from promoting the programme to the receipt of applications and the final selection of candidates.

Maximised referral sources


New employee onboarding: A structured programme was introduced for new hires in the first week, which helped them understand company culture, values and the employee-referral programme.

Encouraging social-media engagement: Employees were provided with branded content and encouraged to share it on their personal social-media networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, and similar platforms). This helped reach a wider audience and attract potential candidates.

Empowering ambassadors: Social-media champions were identified and supported to promote the company’s brand and referral programme.

Referral rewards: Rewards such as signing bonuses or extra vacation days were offered to new employees who referred successful candidates.

Tracking and analysing referral data


Efficient dashboards made the employee- referral programme truly data driven.
Insights were provided to enable the TA personnel and business heads to track and analyse referral data over time.

Trends and patterns were identified —which employees or functions were bringing the most referrals or which sources were providing the highest quality referral leads.

This data was used to optimise the programme and improve its effectiveness.

Governance and global rollout


The programme was scaled and rolled out across 17 countries, adhering to the local laws and regulations.


Evolution into a reliable ally for the world’s toughest engineering problems

Quest Global’s employee-referral programme has surpassed all expectations. It has established itself as a resounding success by contributing to an impressive 23 per cent of the hiring, exceeding the initial goals set by the company. By leveraging the company’s strong culture and employer brand, coupled with its positive turn on investment (RoI), the employee-referral programme continues to play a pivotal role in shaping Quest Global’s talent acquisition and retention strategies.

The programme’s remarkable achievements align seamlessly with the organisation’s core objectives of building a high-quality talent pool, which helps them solve the world’s toughest engineering problems. Looking ahead, the programme has set its sights on an even more ambitious target of achieving 40 per cent of all hiring. To accomplish this feat, Quest Global is prepared to expand its reach to new talent pools in different regions, while remaining acutely mindful of cultural nuances.

The author, Sudarsan Ravi is the Founder and CEO of RippleHire and is known as a pioneer and category creator in recruitment technology.

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