New Tool Leverages Facebook Friends For Employee Referrals

Feb 2, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

There’s a cool new app from a young startup making its first foray into the recruiting sector. Released by San Mateo-Calif. Appirio, the Referral Management Solution connects Salesforce and Facebook to allow a company’s employees to pass along job openings to their Facebook friends and refer them to hiring managers.

What makes it worth the $25,000 annual fee is how Appirio’s tool does its work. First, it pretty much runs on its own, once an employee opts in. It’s magic comes from its ability to access the employee’s friends list, analyze their job skills and experience from the profile Facebook members complete, and match them against company openings.

It’s up to the employee to pass along the opportunity and refer their Facebook friends. Interested candidates who decide to move forward can be sent to the company’s career site to apply, but all are tracked by Salesforce.

The accompanying pictures shows a Facebook page with a referral recommended by the Referral Management Solution. The page also includes sales leads, which are generated by a version of the same program that’s designed for developing sales leads and viral marketing.

Privacy, Appirio’s VP of product management and marketing Ryan Nichols told us last week when he walked us through the system, is “top of mind for us.” Neither the employer nor Appirio know who the potential matches are. They do get to know there are matches, but, says Nichols, the job data is brought to Facebook and contact information isn’t exported.

“Just sending messages to friends. That’s all it is,” he says.

What makes Appirio’s use of social connections for recruitment different from some of the other programs out there — Jobster, for example — is that it identifies connections that are a match before anyone has to lift a finger. Other referral programs tend to simply cast a wide net and hope that the right fish swim in. With the Referral Management Solution, Facebook referrals at least know their profile keywords fit the job req keywords. As is always the case, the quality of the match depends on the quality of the job description and the profile and how many keywords are matched.

Appirio’s tool works only with Salesforce, no doubt because Salesforce — and Sequoia Capital — are financing the startup. Nichols told us versions for other recruiting software are in the works.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.