Employee Referral Programs Using More Social Media

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Several months ago, I wrote a piece encouraging companies to emplower their employees to use social media to spread the news of their Employee Referral Programs.  Since then, there have been many organizations who have done just that; empowered their employees by giving them excellent social referral tools.  Todd Rafael of ERE highlights a handful below.

Employee Referral Programs Using More Social Media

Employee referrals and social recruiting, which already began melding throughJobviteCachinko, and other tools, are growing even closer as new vendors enter the field and corporations test how well their jobs spread on Facebook and other sites. Jobster has tried this all before, as did H3. But their mixed success did not mark the end of an era, but rather a foreshadowing of what was to come.

A New York startup called Referrio is quietly entering this niche. On that site, Cisco, for example, lists 11 jobs and is offering about $2,500 per job for people who fill the openings by spreading the word through social media sites or email.

Meanwhile, Virginia Mason Medical Center has set up a “grab this widget” tool for employees to share the organization’s jobs. The Seattle-area nonprofit needs to fill adirector of nursing informatics jobIT jobs for people with Cerner experience, and more.

Bernard Hodes helped it develop the widget, which recruiters and some Virginia Mason employees are putting on their Facebook pages and elsewhere. But a big push to get employees to add it to their sites is yet to come. First, the center needs to set up a social media policy. ”We’re a little bit new to all of this,” says strategic recruitment specialist Carol Altschul. “I think it’s kind of happening a little backwards. The social media (widget) set up, then the policy created. Right now it’s just kind of growing organically. We’re getting our feet wet.”

At Enterprise Rent-A-Car, employees are adding widgets about company jobs to their personal Facebook pages, and getting paid if the widgets result in a hire, which, I hear, a couple have. Hyatt is testing a widget developed by NAS; Hyatt employees will be listing Hyatt jobs on their Facebook pages and sending them out to friends via Facebook.

At Banner Health, the Phoenix and Western U.S. nonprofit, experienced nurses and occupational/speech/physical therapists are among the highest in demandMichael Seaver, sourcing program manager, said there was “unreal” interest when the 36,000-employee organization moved to an electronic employee referral system two months ago. About 1,500 people referred candidates in about a month. This was not a social media campaign per se, but that’s likely coming soon. Banner, with help from CKR Interactive, is working on how it’ll incorporate its 16 Facebook pages, 16 Twitter accounts, and YouTube account into employee referrals. Banner was until recently in a transition phase, acquiring other organizations. Now, it is “focusing on the people we have,” says Seaver, and will make it easier for those people to refer others.


One sign of the employee-referral times is that SelectMinds, a company mainly known for its work on alumni networks for corporations, is moving deeper into the referral world.

Michael Mallin, the SelectMinds VP of product management, believes that “innovation stalled” a bit during the recession, which “created an opportunity to do something quickly.” That something is a tool that melds employee referrals with social media. Jobster, Mallin believes, had the right idea, but was simply ahead of its time, just before the real explosion in social media. He says that Jobvite (whose success with TiVo I wrote about in the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership) has a good handle on small and mid-size companies, particularly those that want to use Jobvite as their talent acquisition system, but that SelectMinds’ relationship with large firms, like the biggest accounting companies, will help its referral program succeed.

SelectMinds is planning on having a couple of its clients do a free beta of the referral product for two or three months, starting probably in July. For companies that pay, Mallin says it’ll cost about $2,500 per month for companies with up to a few thousand employees, and higher for the largest firms. Pricing varies based on the number of people you make “referrers.”

What happens with SelectMinds is that an automated (or manual, if a recruiter wishes to select some employees to send it to) email goes out to people who might be able to help fill a job. Let’s say hypothetically we’re talking about a software job at Nationwide, and that the job is in Dayton, Ohio. An automated email about the job opening might go out to 1) Nationwide employees in any region who are in IT jobs, and 2) all Nationwide employees in Dayton. The SelectMinds email allows employees to either email selected contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to tell them about the job, or update their LinkedIn and Facebook statuses (and soon Twitter, just not on the demo I saw) with info on the job. The chain of link-forwarding gets tracked as it moves around online, and the employee either gets the whole referral kitty, or can share part of it with a second person, depending on how the company sets it all up.

The employee who’s doing the referring can tell their company, via a short form, how well they know their friend, and what they think of them. The referring employee also gets emails notifying them if their contact has expressed interest in the job.

Meanwhile, recruiters view a dashboard listing how many times a job was referred, and how many applications came in for it. A recruiter can drill down and see who’s referring who.

Mallin hopes the future versions — and he says SelectMinds hopes to release new ones monthly — are “more intelligent.” For example of what he means, let’s take that software job in Dayton. Mallin hopes that a later version will notice that a Nationwide employee may not be in the software field now, and may not even be in Dayton now, but the system knows through combing that employee’s LinkedIn profile (if privacy rules allow it) that she used to work in the software field. Because she may have friends who still work in the field, she’d get the automated job notice asking for referrals. This smart marriage of referrals and social sites is where we’re headed.


October 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

How to get great staff with social media influencers and employee referral programs

by SHANNON on APRIL 29, 2011

Employee referral programs are becoming more common in the work place. As the idea of social recruitment in New Zealand (i.e using social media to help recruitment) catches on, one new way recruiters and HR people can look to improve the results of their referral programs is to find out who your social influencers are within you organisation, and make sure they are actively engaged in your employee referral program.

What defines an influencer? Social media influencers in your business are the staff members who are well-connected online, people listen to them and respect their point of view. Your social media influencer will most likely engage in two-way conversations on-line, they have people comment on their Facebook pages, re-tweet them on twitter and are highly recommended on LinkedIn.

Engaging these people and leveraging their social networks could get you big results. Here are a few things you could do:

  • Start doing a search to see how influential your people are. Use their email address to find out if they have a twitter account and see if they have a Klout score. If they are on LinkedIn see who their connection are.
  • Remember it’s not how many followers or friends they have, it’s who they know and how they communicate with those people. Don’t write of the person who only has 100 connections.
  • Once you know who these people are make sure they are on board with your company culture. If they love their job they will make a good ambassador.
  • If they are in your employee referral program make sure they are up to speed with how it works and suggest that they could mention the latest job opening on their Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn accounts, IF they know some people who may suit the role.
  • Encourage them to not only do big broadcasts but contact people directly if they think the person is suitable for the role and will fit in with your company culture.
  • Make sure the highly motivated folks don’t get too excited and spam everyone. This is not a good look for them or you.
  • Reward results.

If it’s right for you, give some of these things a try. We would love to hear from you if you have tried using social media with your employee referral program or are using social recruitment in New Zealand (or where ever you may be). Do you think this is a smart way to go? Let us know.

October 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment



Fundamentally, employee referral programs and social media both rely on one key phenomenon: networking. To participate in an ERP (Employee Referral Program) you need to “know” people. To participate in social media you need to “reach out” to get to know people. It’s no wonder that ERPs and social media are increasingly working together to find and attract top talent.

Online Job-sharing Start-ups

jobviteERP’s and social media began melding through online tools such as Jobvite andCachinko. These sites allow users to distribute and track job posts across their online networks. With just a few clicks you can send out a job post to your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn groups.

If you have a job you would like to get out to your online network contacts, but not every one of them, Jobvite allows you to create multiple links to a job post, name them to best suit your needs, and then send links to prospects who are a match.

You can screen your contacts for right matches yourself, but for tools like LinkedIn and Facebook, Jobvite will do the screening for you. It matches the job location, title and keywords to the profiles of your friends, followers and contacts.

Targeted and matching keywords are crucial for this to work. Jobvite isn’t clairvoyant. If your job post isn’t descriptive or your contacts have limited profile information, matches won’t happen.

Jobvite’s status update feature also allows you to track views, clicks and applications through its dashboard. The analytics are great, since you can see what networks and types of job descriptions produce the best response (Source of Hire Metrics!).

Cachinko is an employee referral system, online job list, and online network all in one. It allows users to sign up, network, share jobs and build a professional community. Cachinko is buzzworthy because it enables the payment of referral rewards through PayPal and has a referral tracking system.

Online ERPs in Full Force

referrioReferrio is quietly entering the online job search niche, but it is entirely focused on employee referral programs via the Internet, rather than online job-sharing in general.

It works similar to a job board, but it lists referral opportunities instead of standard job opportunities. For example, Cisco lists 11 jobs on the site and is offering $2,500 per job to people who fill the openings through their social media networks or emails. Anyone can visit the site, search job openings in their field, make recommendations for potential candidates and collect rewards for successful fills.

Widgets for the Workforce

Another new form of online ERPs uses widgets. Widgets are mini applications that allow users to regularly feed updated content through social networking sites, blogs, desktops and personal websites. They typically appear as small windows of specific information, in this case company job opportunities.

Companies are now providing employees with a “grab this widget” tool for sharing current job openings. Employees can place the widget on their Facebook, LinkedIn and other personal web pages to announce company jobs to visitors and contacts. Employees are then rewarded if a widget from their page results in a hire.

More online ERP systems and tools are in the works. The corporate alumni network specialist SelectMindsis working on a product that will tie ERPs through a series of email links and online networks. The chain of link-forwarding will be tracked as it moves around the Internet, and one employee either gets the entire referral reward, or it is shared among several chain participants.

Employee referral programs have a strong track record for producing and retaining the best hires. But asking your employees who are the three people they know for an open position is just the start. The most successful employee referral programs are what they say they are: well planned and managed programs, not a question that is simply thrown out there.  Happy referring!

October 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

4 Steps to Boost Employee Referrals with Social Media [HOW-TO]


September 14th, 2011
Social Employee Referral Program Best Practices

Everything is about networks these days, and while they create enormous opportunity for employee referrals, setting up a social referral program can be overwhelming. Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be!

Get Your Motor Running

Before you can focus on building a program, you have to develop a social recruiting strategy that will maximize your company’s employee referral potential. First thing on the list? Educating your employees and managers on how to use social networks for professional purposes and actually encouraging them to get involved. Permission to poke around on Facebook and Twitter – even if it is for work – is a surefire way to get your networking masterminds enthused about your program.

Create a Virtual Water Cooler

If you’ve already gotten your employees hyped on using social media to help the business, start online conversations about open positions and share company news so your internal promoters are in the know and ready to share with their personal networks.

Share Relevant Industry News

If you’re using networks like Facebook and Twitter, sharing content with your internal network is quick and simple. Whether it’s breaking industry news or an interesting blog, these updates will be passed along to new pools of potential talent in no time.

Appoint a Spokesperson

Although most people are already using at least one social or professional network, not everyone will be comfortable with your new program. Some employees may need help creating a profile, growing their network or understanding how you want them to promote your brand. Appoint an internal social media expert to act as a go-to for any guidance that might be needed.

Want to learn more about turning your employees into valuable recruiters? Read our guide on building a successful social employee referral program!



  1. […] are complimentary and boost candidate referrals, the number one source of quality hires for most […]

  2. […] to work. Invest in a job referral application, couple it with an enticing referral incentive and empower employees to tap their social networks to fill your vacancies. Job feeds are useful in keeping current opportunities easily accessible […]

October 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm Leave a comment

will employee referral dilemma still exist in social media?

Kort sagt: vil anbefalinger og anbefalingernes effekter forandre sig når det sker via internettets sociale medier?

Det dilemma som anbefalinger giver i form af begrænsninger i diversitet af mulige medarbejdere (når det er ønskeligt) og det dobbelte forpligtigende bånd (både positivt til at performe, være loyal etc over for virksomhed, og det negative, set med virksomhedens øjne, at være det samme over for anbefaleren når det er imod virksomhedens interesser), vil det blive forandret når anbefalinger sker via sociale medier?   I de sociale medier vil ‘nærheds-båndet’ blive løsnet, og det vil måske betyde, at det er andre parametre som både selve anbefalingen og dens efterfølgende effekter vil dreje sig om.

October 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm Leave a comment

ansættelsescirklen uden employee referral


Væktshus midt





Her er anbefalinger fra andre medarbejdere, eller andre lignende relationer i virksomhedens netværk, ikke nævnt med et ord. Fordi vi er i jylland vil opstarter nok naturligt tænke på at bruge sit netværk til at skabe fokus på behovet for en ny medarbejder eller hvad det måtte være, men det er alligevel bemærkelsesværdigt at det ikke er nævnt overhovedet.

October 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Kotler – design a costumer

Philip Kotler har lavet nedenstående i en anden sammenhæng, men måske kan den med held overføres til e-recruitment

Philip Kotler

Design a Customer-Focused Business System

October 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

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