Employer Branding

How to Automate Your Employee Referral Program

Automation makes the world go round much more easily.

Whether you use email alerts to read news stories or text notifications to remember important appointments, automating your daily life helps you to be more productive and engaged, and automating your hiring process is no different!

While you’re probably part of the many recruiters who use an employee referral program – commonly noted as the No. 1 source of hire – can you make things even better when sourcing fantastic candidates? Probably, and it starts with automating your referral program, which means eliminating any heavy lifting on your part.

Ultimately, employee referrals are something you do, not something you launch. This means constantly repeating certain tasks, and this reiteration is more easily streamlined if you use automation.

Think about automation like balancing a budget: Things go smoothly if you use a spreadsheet with pre-determined formats rather than a blank piece of paper. With that in mind, what are some concrete ways to make automation happen, both for yourself and for your referrers?

Implement Autoposting:

In order to get your internal and external network involved in your employee referral program, you should consider sharing job openings cyclically. This means auto-posting openings on an ongoing basis. Sharing a job only once may increase the chances of it getting lost in the cracks, but if you automate it, your network will always know when to expect those great job openings — and will be ready to refer the best candidate they know.

A good way to create an auto-posting initiative is to send content when your network is the most active. If members of your internal and external network seem to be sharing jobs the most on Tuesday afternoons, think about automating job sharing that morning every week. Jobs will have a better chance at getting reviewed and shared if they are sent during an active time period.

Automatically Use Data in Your ATS:

It’s estimated that about 60 percent of all companies use some sort of Applicant Tracking System (ATS). When using your ATS, you’ve probably found great candidates have applied to open positions, but it often amounts to way too many options. You also can’t always tell if applicants would get the seal of approval from your network. The solution? Automatically using data from your ATS in your referral process.

Let’s say you receive an application from Candidate X and Candidate Y. By using degrees of connections and ATS data, you can automatically filter out who knows who. This allows you to suggest the right people to your connections, who can then vouch for a candidate’s skills and background experience. This option narrows down the candidate pool without having to do much on your end.

RELATED: Applicant Tracking Systems: Why Usability is Crucial for ROI

Lure Them with Leaderboards:

Leaderboards are a form of gamification, which uses the thinking, learnings, and mechanics from games to increase engagement in non-game systems. The tactic is getting very popular, with reports indicating 70 percent of the top 2,000 public companies in the world will have at least one gamified application by 2014. Leaderboards are a way to track performance by presenting who’s winning the referral race, essentially enticing other members of your network to stay involved.

The point of automating leaderboards is that you don’t have to count points, progress, or activities manually. It also allows you to sync up your ATS with your leaderboard, automatically giving points for effective referrals that proceed through the hiring process. Thinking about leaderboards with a broader perspective can be the fire your referrers need to not only stay involved, but to automatically be aware of their standing and reward status.

Make your referral program an even more valuable part of your hiring strategy by automating tasks that are repetitive or require analyzing large amounts of data, like matching jobs to people in your network. You’ll not only find better referrals, you’ll notice your employee referral program is more efficient for you and your network overall.

What do you think? What are some other ways to automate your employee referral program? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Ziv Eliraz is the Founder and CEO of, social employee referral management platform.

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