Sixty percent of applicants hired through the eBay referral program in its first nine months were mid- to senior-level positions.
By the Numbers
• With 10,000 employees at eBay participating in the referral program with an average of 634 social media connections per person, there are 6,340,000 potential prospects for the company.
• 349,065 job openings were viewed through the referral program during the first six months, which would have cost $349,065 on
a traditional job site.
• It would take four full-time recruiters to hire as many employees as eBay did through its referral program.
• There were 13 job views per employee during the first nine months of the program.
• Sixty percent of hires made through referrals were of mid- to senior-level employees.
• The new referral program increased hires based on referrals from 20 percent to 32 percent of all hires.
Referrals work. The logic is simple: candidates who come through referrals already have been vetted by an employee and are typically a much better fit with the company and job. What’s not so simple for large employers is systematizing the referral process to generate referrals in a predictable, organized fashion, ultimately being able to tap into the employee population as a first-round recruiting force.
Thanks to social networks, this is changing. With everyone in the world now linked digitally, the infrastructure is in place to allow recruiters to tap into their employee networks to find referral candidates. The key is doing that in a manner that is manageable and consistent with company policies.
That’s the code eBay unlocked with its social employee referral program in 2011. By leveraging its employees’ social networks, eBay was able to generate 13,000 referrals, 4,000 job applications and 158 hires in nine months. As a result, the company is now getting 32 percent of all new hires from in-house referrals.
Prior to launching its social referral program, eBay had a manual employee referral process in place that was unwieldy and lacked tracking capabilities. Referral rates hovered in the 20 percent range, which was lower than desired.