Zao Expands Job Referral Process To Facebook Friends, LinkedIn Contacts

By David Cohen 

Companies leaning on their employees for job referrals during the hiring process is nothing new, but why leave out potential contributors such as trusted former employees, or contacts who work for partners and vendors? That was the thinking behind Zao, which makes its official debut today.

Zao does not charge for use, only collecting percentages of referral bonuses after successful hires through the platform.

It uses an algorithm to search Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts for potential referrers, recommending potential candidates within their friends and contacts, and enabling them to process referrals with a single click.

Companies set their own rewards levels for successful hires, with the ability to designate different amounts for different jobs, and one lump-sum payment can be sent to Zao, which then distributes the awards to the designated recipients.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ziv Eliraz said the inspiration for Zao was a lack of success finding qualified candidates via job boards and recruiters when opening a U.S. office for the technology company he was with at the time, adding that when he turned to his network of Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts, the hiring process took an abrupt turn for the better. He said:

The people I’d worked with at other companies immediately understood what I was looking for in a candidate because they knew the industry. Instead of interviewing 10 people to fill a single position, I got a steady stream of qualified candidates and was able to quickly build the work force I needed.

I used the same principles in building the team at Zao. I didn’t know any of Zao’s current team members before I founded the company. But people who I trust did — and that’s what helped me hire such a great team so quickly.

When employers ask employees to make a referral, in essence, they’re asking them, “Who do you know who might be a good fit for the job?” That immediately lowers employee participation to just those employees who have someone specific in mind. Zao expands that request, adding a new question: “Who do your friends know?” Changing the question changes the mindset, which enables 100 percent employee participation. Our tools automate the search and analyze the data in a very targeted way. Using Zao helps companies truly revolutionize their referral and incentive programs.

Readers: Have you ever referred someone for a job via Facebook or other social networks, or been referred for one via the same channels?