Five Tips for a Social-Savvy Referral-Based Recruitment Strategy

“The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life.”

– Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change (New Yorker, 4 October 2010)

Recruiting boils down to one key principle: Good people know and trust other good people. In his article extolling the virtues of extended connections, Gladwell goes on to say, “This is in many ways a wonderful thing. There is strength in weak ties, as the sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation [and] interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Job opportunities that come by personal connections have the greatest chance of inspiring people to act. When your employees’ trusted contacts – or passing acquaintances – pass along your job openings to their trusted contacts, your recruiting reach grows exponentially. Ideally, the right candidate should come to your recruiters, rather than having your recruiters post, search, and make cold calls.

Scale up your referrals and leverage trusted social connections so you can repeat one-to-one communications across networks until the right candidates emerges. Your referral solution needs to meet five key success criteria:

  1. Maintain online communication with employees and alumni
    An intelligent social networking solution connects your people, mines their networks and suggests connections that drive referrals with an automated referral process.
  1. Support motivation efforts.
    Track and pay referral bonuses accurately -or lose credibility. Manage bonus eligibility and accuracy throughout the referral process -even when openings “go viral” by being passed among several people in the referral chain. Track how many people passed the job along and determine how much reward everyone should receive without any extra effort for you recruiters or accountants.
  1. Make the process easy, fast, fun, and rewarding
    Automate the referral process and enable your employees and alumni to participate by clicking a button. It’ll takes just seconds for them to pass along a job to a contact recommended by the system. Participation will increase when your process is easy.
  1. Open up communication and recognition
    Transparency from the beginning of the process, through to its conclusion is key.  Build out your process so that people can check or receive alerts on the status of a referral, recognize them when a successful referral is made. Accolades and acknowledgement can motivate employee engagement.
  1. Reinforce your employment brand
    As you promote job positions, you have an opportunity to reinforce your corporate brand with your employees and alumni. Referral programs that evolve around ad hoc e-mail efforts often inconsistently use corporate logos and graphics. An intelligent social networking solution automatically sends out branded e-mails and drives applicants to branded Web pages. Even after your job openings go viral, all candidates will enjoy an experience that looks and feels like your company.

Your greatest asset is your workforce. Establishing deeper connectivity is a force multiplier in your effort to infuse new talent from this asset. If we each have a hundred Facebook friends, then a hundred times a hundred times a hundred… And with the dramatic shift in how people network and search for jobs, a strong employer brand deployed through social media technology will be a mission critical tool in your recruitment framework.

Furthermore, millennials are social media natives. They’ve pioneered the social Web from influencing consumer behaviour to pursuing career moves. Your referrers are your most tech savvy employees. They will require smart, fast and intuitive tools that allow them to share career opportunities with their social networks in less time than it takes to them to move on to the next app on their phone.

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Yazad Dalal is the Senior Director for HCM Strategy and Transformation of Oracle APAC.

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