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Case Study: How One Company Filled Hard-to-Fill Positions With Social Referrals on Facebook


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fb referrals

When it comes to hiring efficiency, performance, fit, retention–or almost any metric to which a recruiter or HR department can be held accountable–there is no greater source for talent than employee referrals. We could go so far as to call referrals a gold standard without feeling guilty of exaggeration.

Your people are your best recruiters, because they already have a feel for your company culture, the requirements of your open positions, and their friends or acquaintances’ skills, experiences, and abilities; your people are also connected to workers of similar profiles, so whether you’re looking for salespeople or nurses in your area, by turning to your employees in sales or nursing, you have a much better chance of stumbling upon your next best candidate.

For this reason, many companies rely on employee referral programs–but there is one key component to referral programs that employers often overlook: referrals rely on social connection. And what better way to increase engagement with your jobs while drawing in more referral candidates than through the connections your employees make through their social networks?

Social networks are where people share content–a lot of content. On an average day, people share 4.75 billion pieces of content on Facebook alone. This makes social networks ideal for generating referrals, because they make it easy for you, your employees, and others to share your jobs.

One recent example of just how effective socially sharing jobs can be for generating referrals comes straight out of an unexpectedly social company in the global oil and gas industry. While you might not expect “oil and gas” to generate a loyal Facebook following, by leveraging a Facebook Career Page and social referrals, this company became a model for social job sharing success:

As an enterprise company with locations spread across the United States, the company often found difficulty in sourcing qualified candidates for its various engineering roles. Fortunately, it already employs many qualified engineers–engineers with friends and acquaintances both locally and in the industry. In other words, it has engineers with a large amount of referral potential.

While employees’ friends may have a similar specific profile as your employees, the only way to make an employee referral program successful (i.e. to hire your employees’ friends) is to have your employees adopt it and share those jobs with their friends. To facilitate the process and make it simple for employees to regularly share jobs, the oil and gas company relied on social referral automation tools. This allowed them to make the process as simple as picking a social network and waiting for the referrals to roll in.

To make the above possible, the oil and gas company first set up a dedicated Facebook Career Page in early 2013. In under 7 months, it was able to grow its talent community to just under 10,000 fans. It began using Work4’s Facebook Recruiting Solution to automatically import jobs from the company’s applicant tracking system to its Facebook Career Page, which gave the Page a regular stream of content the fans could “like” and share.

To further refine the process, while ensuring that jobs reached more qualified local candidates, the company encouraged both its recruiters and its employees to opt in to Work4‘s Social Job Sharing solution. Once signed up, the recruiter or employee would automatically share specific types of jobs (in this case, engineering) with their friends and connections across their personal Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts.

The company also took advantage of the mobile component of social referrals. We know that at least 71% of people connect to Facebook from their mobile devices, so having a mobile-compatible recruiting strategy while leveraging social networks for referrals is a must. On its Facebook Career Page, the company created a mobile-friendly candidate experience that synced with its ATS, so referred candidates could save the job or begin the application process whether they came upon the job on desktop or on the go.

In just one month:

  • 61% of the company’s job views to the Facebook Career Page came from Social Job Sharing.
  • 51% of the apply clicks were driven to the Facebook Career Page by jobs shared by the company’s own employees.
  • The conversion rate from completed application to hire from applicants through the Work4 solution was a full 40%
  • Due to the use of Social Job Sharing and Facebook, the company was able to make 2 high quality hires for specialized engineering roles in a very short time period.

The results of that month were not an anomaly: from July to September, job views tripled while apply clicks quadrupled, and the company continues to have steady success in generating engagement with its jobs through automatic job posts to both its Facebook Career Page and its recruiter and employee networks.

The key takeaway from this oil and gas company’s success is this: no matter the industry, recruiting benefits from using Facebook and social referrals. If you have specialized and/or hard-to-fill positions, by making job sharing automatic across social networks and leveraging employee connections for generating referrals, it is easy for employers to make successful, time- and cost-efficient recruiting a reality.

With more than 10 years of startup experience and HR technology expertise, Stéphane Le Viet is the CEO at Work4 Labs, the #1 Facebook Recruiting Solution. Founded in 2010, Work4 Labs develops the market-leading social recruitment application, Work for Us, and the company's award-winning products empower employers to to optimize their social recruiting strategies.