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5 Features You Need in Employee Referral Software

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Digital transformations in human resources (HR) departments are in full swing across all industries. Competition for the best and brightest workforce is fierce, and growing companies are looking to employee referral software tools to extend their reach to available talent, shorten time to hire, and cut costs. While employee referral programs have been used since the time of ancient Rome, it has only been within the last two decades that those programs have benefited from digitization. Today’s employee referral tools have a variety of features that are designed to attract, hire, and retain top talent. Here are five must-have features to look for when choosing an employee referral software platform.

#1 Social Media Integration

Attracting top talent is a lot like luring customers. Effective marketing professionals know that they must go to where these people congregate to capture their attention. In today’s times, that means having a social media presence for your company, but also recognizing that social media can be a very effective way to reach potential candidates.

Your choice for referral software should integrate with popular social media channels. When an employee refers a friend for a job, you need to be ready to respond to questions and offer job-specific information in a timely and professional manner. This type of highly responsive and proactive recruiting sends the right message to both your employees that you take their referrals seriously, and the potential job candidates that your company and corporate brand is one they can trust.

One of the main benefits of using a digital employee referral program is to reach more pre-screened, highly qualified job candidates. You’ll want an employee referral platform that integrates with current employees’ social channels. Many of these software tools are equipped with sharing functions and tracking features that will allow you to easily know not only which employee referred the candidate, but also via which channel they applied. 

#2 Employer Branding

Strengthening corporate brands is one of the top hurdles that HR professionals face when recruiting top talent. If a job candidate is unsure about a potential employer’s reputation, he or she is likely to do more research on the company before moving forward in the hiring process. According to a recent statistic that Corporate Responsibility Magazine published, 75 percent of people wouldn’t accept a job offer from a company whose reputation didn’t align with their values.

As important as employer branding is to a company’s recruiting strategy, many recruiting software tools miss the opportunity to bring customized, branded messages to job candidates. You’ll want referral software that tells your story to referred candidates. Some of these prospects are passive job seekers who want reassurance about the company’s mission. Don’t be afraid to incorporate employee video testimonials into your branded job content. It’ll help to reinforce the great things that your employee told their referred friend about the company.

#3 Compatible With Current Recruiting Tools

Disrupt or be disrupted is the rallying cry of progressive HR departments. As a result, many companies rushed to adopt digital recruiting tools that gave them an edge five years ago but that lack the latest referral features now. When your current recruiting software hasn’t outlasted its usefulness, consider adopting a supplemental add-on tool that specifically automates your company’s employee referral program. Look for a feature-rich platform that integrates well with the functions of your current applicant tracking or recruiting software tool. Try out the features in a demo to make sure that the tools are compatible.

#4 Mobile Ready

Today’s HR digital transformations must go beyond desktop-centric recruiting software and applicant tracking systems. As more people work remotely, it’s likely that the opportunity to refer a friend to a newly posted job position will occur on the go. At a minimum, you’ll want a web-based referral platform that’s mobile friendly.

However, the best employee referral software tools will have associated mobile apps that allow employees to refer friends, check the status of referrals, and redeem rewards and program incentives from their smartphones. Recruiting through referrals relies on relationships that your employees have nurtured with friends, who just happen to be prospective job candidates. Having a mobile app for your employee referral program allows employees to make referrals in between dinner and a movie with their friends.

#5 Analytics

Cutting cost-per-hire and time-to-hire rates are some of the main reasons that companies invest in employee referral programs. While digital tools are supposed to increase your employee referral program’s cost-cutting strength, it’s often difficult to tell if your program and software platform are making progress in this area. The right employee referral tracking software will monitor referrals from your employees, should give you stats on the number of applications vs. the number of hires, and complete tracking features so that you can see where and who referrals are coming from, and which channels are the most efficient. You’ll know how long it took for referred candidates to get hired and all this data will allow you to compare it with other recruiting channels you use. Analytic functions within these platforms will allow you to pinpoint weak areas of the program and quickly make fixes that allow you to reach your strategic recruiting goals.


While every organization is different, nearly all companies have the need for a steady stream of talent. The best employee referral software allows you to implement your company’s employee referral program right away and scale to accommodate future organizational changes, market trends, and company growth. Firstbird is a leading provider of employee referral software and offers a variety of informational resources for building an effective employee referral program. Contact Firstbird today to learn more about its robust software tool for HR recruiting.

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