There is a feature that I have been noticing appearing on most of the Facebook recruiting applications. The get referred feature enables you to see how you are connected with the employing company, and enables you to message your contacts to ask to be referred for a particular job. In most of the apps you get to see both your LinkedIn connections and your Facebook connections. You can find this feature on the Work4Labs, TMJ,  Gooodjob, Glassdoor, BranchOut, Jibe and more. This might not seem like a big deal, it has become common place, but I think it could be.

My thinking behind this is that it changes the dynamic for social referrals and job pipeline. I’m a big fan of social referrals. The average person has 125 Facebook friends and 225 LinkedIn connections. From the research I’ve conducted there is usually a 20% crossover between the channels, and around 70% relevance for employment. This might be as tenuous as living in the right area, but when you multiply the numbers by the number of employees then there is massive potential.

Applications like Work4Labs and SocialReferral (available through Broadbean Inc) have matching technology under the hood that matches the social profiles of an employees connections, enabling employees to refer jobs to potential candidates creating a relevant and on-going pipeline. The success of social referral programs are dependent on five things:

> Understanding that a social-referral is based on a profile match and is not a recommendation. this means removing accountability and asking for the level of relationship.

> Establishing trust at point of sign up that you want access to networks for automated matching only. You need to provide reassurance that you won’t be stripping any data or messaging anyone without going through the owner of the network first.

> Establishing a review and response time to ALL social referrals regardless of fit.

> Rewards for referrals rather than hires.

> Making the process quick, and using technology to take the work out of matching, with no reliance on memory.

These are the pillars on which I build social referral programs, along with ensuring high-profile visibility and recognition well beyond the launch date. The reality of this however is that most social referral programs falter beyond the first 3 months because they cease to be a priority, become a distraction or the promised rewards or recognition are not forthcoming. There is always a new initiative or something more important that becomes a priority. To make these programs work you need to embed them in to culture, and keep them going. It takes real effort, but the pipeline rewards are significant.

What changes this is the get referred button because this changes the onus from the employee to the interested party in terms of effort. Potentially this also changes the candidate experience where referral candidates are given priority for review and response. It also gives potential candidates the opportunity to look deeper in to companies by enabling conversation and investigation on a peer level before application, and the more informed the candidate, the better the conversion rate to employee, because those who choose to opt in after investigation interview better because they have already established their interest.

LinkedIn go a bit further on their get referred feature because they show the relationship with the advertising recruiter and the closest connections. I’d like to see this feature being integrated in to all the applications beyond who you know, including features like who you know who does this job now with the potential employer. The how are you connected feature is also a great way to promote a talent network, giving potential candidates a great reason to express their interest, even if they are not ready to apply. As this feature catches on, it will only encourage people to make connections within companies that could be of interest at some stage in their career, and offers a very real benefit to those who network.

Combining an internal social referral program with get referred features on all jobs and social places will only enhance your pipeline, and make your applications better. Get referred might just make a real difference to your results.