Use Your Employee Referral Program in Social Recruiting

Employee referral programs attract better hires, reduce the burden of recruiting and turn the whole staff into recruiters.

learn more about Kes Thygesen

By Kes Thygesen

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The war for talent rages on. A 2015 ICIMS study found that 86 percent of the 107 HR professionals surveyed expect hiring to increase or stay the same. However, employers are looking for less conventional means of connecting with job seekers.

Social recruiting remains a popular choice as many companies turn to social media to find strong talent. The Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report found 47 percent of the 3,894 hiring managers surveyed say social media is the most effective employer branding tool, offering multiple outlets that provide unique features that can help with recruiting.

Organizations often overlook their greatest asset to use for recruiting -- their employees. Creating an employee referral program offers several benefits and can give the recruiting process a boost.

Related: 5 Great Ways Your Employees Can Help You Hire Smarter

This is how to create a successful employee referral program and improve social recruiting:

Create an employee referral program.

The 2015 ICIMS study found that 63 percent of the 107 HR professionals surveyed have a documented referral program. More than half the companies surveyed say referred employees are better cultural fits, stay longer, and are more satisfied.

Employee referral programs attract better hires, reduce the burden of recruiting for the talent acquisition team and turn the whole staff into recruiters. Creating an effective program takes a great deal of planning.

Determine the goal of the employee referral program, which can be as general as increasing the number of referred candidates or as specific as improving diversity in the sales department. A clear vision guides the process. Create a simple strategy with the employee in mind. If it's easy to submit referrals, employees will do it. Keep it straightforward.

Train them on what the company is looking for and and how the company will contact referred candidates. Make expectations clear so they aren't deterred if recruiters don't contact candidates right away. The most important thing to do is recognize each referral. Offer bonuses for strong referrals if possible, and keep employees engaged and informed about emerging talent needs.

Finally, measure everything, such as the quality of hire, the amount of employee participation, and the percentages of referred candidates who get hired. Data informs where the process can improve and what exactly is working.

The employee referral program can be extended into social recruiting in several ways.


A strong employer brand utilizes this outlet by effectively representing the company with the brand logo and company photographs, a well-written bio that is both accurate and captivating, and relevant tweets that are consistently posted and produce interesting content. A successful Twitter account builds its following and connects with people.

Related: How to Attract Awesome Talent During Employee Recruitment

To recruit, create strong job posting tweets that provide more than just a link to the application. Make the tweet informative and use strong hashtags that incorporate keywords, job terminology relevant to the position, and information about the locations of the openings.

Train employees on how to write these postings and encourage them to spread the reach on their accounts to refer their followers to the job posting. If their followers are professionals in the industry, this could attract top talent.


People are connecting on this popular platform in several ways. The search function allows users to search for "people who work at _____." Create a professional, attractive Facebook page and add a jobs tab that integrates with the company's ATS. Encourage employees to refer potential candidates to the company page, tag referrals in postings, and share the job updates on their feeds.

A successful Facebook page informs the visitor about the company's vision, mission, and values while giving them a peek inside the company culture. It should combine the consumer brand with the employer brand because both are sides to the same coin.

To earn more traffic and expand the reach, engage in paid advertising. It allows the company to target specific audiences that may contain high quality talent.


A subscription to the recruiter function is helpful because it uses an algorithm to match candidates with relevant postings. Even without this subscription, companies can still use LinkedIn Groups. Post relevant content to establish the company as a trusted source. This will expand the network and further the reach of the company's message.

Related: 3 Ways to Be Constantly Recruiting Star Talent Through Social Media

Additionally, encourage employees to make connections and expand their networks to represent the company in a professional manner. The more they connect and share ideas, the more candidates present themselves. Employees can reach out directly to top talent to share a job opening.

Kes Thygesen

Co-founder and head of product at RolePoint

Kes Thygesen is the co-founder and head of product at RolePoint, a complete social recruiting suite that provides unrivaled access and reach to quality job candidates.

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