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Would you suggest a friend or contact for a job at your company? Most people answer yes, making referrals the most tried and true method of recruiting. Now a new tool in the recruiter’s toolbox will allow hiring managers to automate, gamify, and extend referrals beyond immediate contacts.

We’ve seen a lot of new human resources and recruiting companies in the last few months. Zao is a new social hiring platform that enables HR pros to set up and manage referrals automtically … and spread the wealth.

VentureBeat talked to Ziv Eliraz, founder and chief executive of Zao, for all the details.

Above: Founder and CEO Ziv Eliraz

Image Credit: Zao

“We’re all about managing the number one source of hiring: referrals,” Eliraz said. “The problem is that most companies are doing this as if social media hasn’t been invented yet.”


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Commonly, referrals work like this: HR emails employees, outlining the open positions, and asked employees to forward the note to anyone they know who might be qualified.

“90 percent of employees ignore that completely,” Eliraz says. “We want to automate and improve this process.

So Zao does three things.

First, using custom matching technology, the Zao service ingests the job description, connects to LinkedIn and Facebook, and tells any employee who they know who might be best for the job, automatically. That allows employes to get in touch with friends and contacts selectively and directly.

Second, Zao allows the company to split the referral bonus between multiple referrers in the chain … meaning that if a friend of a friend gets the job, you still get paid.

“Now you can share the reward,” Eliraz told VentureBeat. “Everyone knows someone [who] could know someone who could do the job, but you’re still staying within a trusted circle.”

And third, Zao gives everyone a leaderboard, showing how many people have viewed and/or applied for the job … and who referred them. This is important, says Eliraz, because traditional hire bounties don’t get paid for months and months, during which time the referring employees have no idea what is happening.

“The leaderboard gives instant gratification to the people who are making an effort,” said Eliraz. “In addition, HR and managers can see the activity on the leaderboard, which is a very relevant measure of effort, and reward it appropriately.”

Above: Leaderboard for job referrals in Zao

Image Credit: Zao

Zao is an 11-person start-up with research and development in Israel, and marketing in the U.S. The company has $1.3 million in angel funding from a variety of sources.

Image credit: Novelo/ShutterStock

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