Refer A Friend

Recruiting Your Friends: Employee Referral Apps

The traditional recruitment process can take up quite a lot of time and resources. Human Resources teams need to set up good job posts and send them out to the right sites. Hirers must then wade through responses and interview candidates. It is a long, costly process that doesn’t always guarantee the best results. Then there is the process for the new hire. GooodJob’s guide and other resume websites can help with these important skills. But, a referral from a friend can speed up the whole process. Many companies now turn to employee referral apps for a better experience.

In this introduction to these employee referral apps we will answer the following questions:

  1. What is an employee referral app?
  2. What are the benefits for employers?
  3. What are the benefits for employees currently on the payroll?
  4. What are the benefits of the referrals – especially those with disabilities?
  5. Are there any disadvantages to this approach?

Following the five main questions, there will be a listing and explanation of the best apps available right now.

1. What Is An Employee Referral App?

These apps are mobile tools at the fingertips of helpful employees on the payroll. The referral system essentially outsources the hiring process to employees, while cutting down on time and costs. Current staff can refer people they know for the post and possibly earn some rewards. This sort of software isn’t new. But, mobile apps improve the desktop experience, making it more accessible and interesting to users.

Looking for new hires

2. The benefits of employee referral apps for employers

The advantages are as follows:

  • They save a lot of time
  • They save on financial costs
  • They could help companies find a better fit for the culture of the workplace.

There is no longer any time wasted on sending out posts to websites and sorting through all the unsuitable candidates. Employees fast track like-minded individuals that they can vouch for, while HR teams and other departments get on with other work. A good job app cuts down on costs by keeping the job posts, referrals, and other tools in one portal. Ideally, this leads to a better candidate in a shorter space of time, filling the role much faster.

3. Where is the incentive for the employees making those referrals?

There are some critics that link this approach to mobile gaming. They suggest that the fun nature of the app is enough to offer enjoyment and incentive. Some app developers use that idea of mobile gaming and offer a series of rewards for the number of referrals made. Digital achievements and online contests could spark some people into making a few referrals on a lunch break.

The problem is that most employees need more than that. Many will appreciate the fact that they are essentially doing the job of the HR team, in addition to their own role. Many will wonder if their action has any impact on a final decision. Therefore, they need a reason to make the effort – even if that effort is as simple as dragging a contact name into a folder.

Clearly, monetary benefits are often top of the list. Bonuses in the monthly paycheck for a successful hire is a good start. Those that can’t provide this may offer services and goods related to the company. An upgrade on the company phone, a free night at a company hotel or a basket of goodies from a food producer.

4. The benefits of referral apps for those referred

First of all, active job seekers get a helping hand and push in the right direction. They may not have to fight against a large group of traditional applicants if there were only a few referrals. Employers love the fast-track nature of the system, and it definitely works both ways.

Secondly, there is the benefit for those with disabilities and learning difficulties searching for a good job. Many struggle with the application and interview process. The quick-fire cuts at the starting blocks see many lose their chance. Employers may stop once they see a name, age, disability and any related lack of experience. A referral with a character reference may provide a chance to skip over this brutal step for a face-to-face meeting.

One potential disadvantage to this system is a sense of inequality.

Not all employees will be on-board with this approach. There is sometimes the sense that there is no longer a level playing field if a colleague’s friend can get in with a quick referral. It is also important to make sure that the referrals are fair.

Some departments could take advantage of the system. It may enable them to bring in certain people and overlook more qualified candidates. Also, a referral with handicaps or disabilities cannot become a token hire if they aren’t suitable.

5. The disadvantages of gamification of the hiring process.

As with many apps and online games, users can lose interest in these programmes over time. Companies may find that they get lots of referrals in the first month, but far fewer the month after. A lack of incentives could be to blame in this situation. Other users may not become engaged with the product at all if online gaming and apps aren’t for them.

Source: RolePoint

The idea of these recruitment apps with social media ties and gamerscores does appeal to a younger demographic. Some app developers push this further with their language and design. This is an idea for the millennial worker, not the experienced middle-aged manager that may have more connections.

Sampling Of The Best Employee Referral Apps Available Today

There are many apps available on Google and iOS stores that offer a great way to refer friends and family. Many market themselves more for the employee than the employer, with a focus on the gamification concept, rewards, and ease of use. As seen above, this has its pros and cons. Still, those that like the approach find success with the following options.

Firstbird Image Film from firstbird on Vimeo.


This company has become Europe’s leading referral app. This is a great starting point because of the breadth of the user base and development of the system. This app is a companion to the First Bird online service and offers a more convenient way to refer friends to a good job. Employees share the jobs on social media and points in the rewards system. There is also a leaderboard for the top scouts within a company.


Zao is another popular option because users aren’t just competing for a good job. Instead, current employees get to compete to reach the top of the app’s leaderboard. This is where the gamification idea really comes into play. Modern gamers find themselves conditioned to chase points, achievements, and special badges. All these are available here. Even so, there is also the fact that Zao rewards employees based on high-quality referrals. Therefore, this is much more than a game for all involved.


Boon works by a similar principle. Here participants can accumulate their “Boon score”. This is a status symbol within the app that reflects their hard work. This isn’t just about the number of referrals made, or else users might refer anyone regardless of suitability. Instead, there are bonus points earned for the success of the referral. In gamer terms, the more that referral levels up through the hiring and interview process, the better the score. It is another win-win situation for all involved.


RolePoint takes us back to that idea that employees need to feel involved in a positive, productive way with this hiring process. They need to know that their effort means something in the long-run. That is where the feedback system of RolePoint is helpful. Here users can learn about the progress of referrals via a simple notification system. Those that can track the progress of their first referrals may be more inclined to go through the process again.


Then there is Zalp. The idea here is much the same, as there is a simple process and the notion of rewards for successful referrals. However, this app takes a slightly different route with the idea of “micro reward strategies”. Many apps use those scores and final results to determine whether or not users are rewarded. Some may get a bonus if the referral is then hired, while others get nothing. Zalp breaks this down with rewards at different stages. This means that users have a greater chance of a bonus for sending a candidate to interview.

Product Tour of ZALP: #1 Employee Referral Tool from ZALP on Vimeo.


Top Apps With A Social Media Aspect

Then there are those that lean towards the social media side of these referrals. Users love these apps because of the simple synchronization to leading sites, and their style. A great interface is sometimes an important tool when deciding to help refer friends for a good job. The idea here is that the app becomes part of a morning routine. Users can check Twitter updates and refer a couple of friends through Facebook before they even reach the office.


Jobvite is one of the more appealing options because of the custom Facebook application. Even with recent scandals about data use, Facebook is still king when connecting people and sharing news. Here employees can send job posts to their connections via private invitations. The downside here is that an invitation is not the same as an instant referral. The rewards might not be as secure as on other sites.


Reffind has a bit of a following because of its style, rather than its incentives or approach. The developers clearly borrowed from Tinder, creating the recruitment equivalent of a dating app. Users simply swipe left to dismiss a post, swipes up to come back to it or swipe right to link it to the perfect candidate. This simple process means that users can swipe through a large number of posts each day. This is helpful to large companies and conglomerates with lots of posts to handle.


Yolpe can be a little off-putting to those that are a little older, which ties in with one of the disadvantages above. The style is very young, for the crowd that wants to make memes as well as a bonus. There is a strong emphasis here on the idea of social recruiting. Users earn rewards by connecting friends on their networks with good jobs currently available. A bonus here is that there are rewards upon hiring, with no caveats on time spend in employment. There are also helpful notifications on job posts with referral options.

get ready for interview for goood job

Top Company or Sector Specific Apps

Finally, it is worth noting that some companies have their personal apps to streamline the process further. This is a great way to help people find a good job in their industry. Employees may want to talk to employers about the potential for a brand-specific app. This could be more rewarding than a more generic option in the long run.

Colgate’s Refer a Smile

Colgate’s Refer a Smile program is nothing especially clever or unique about this app. It offers the same process, with simple syncing to social media, quick referrals and the chance to track links. It is a great way for this global giant to target new employees in the industry. Colgate employees may have friends in their graduating class or in the industry looking for a change.


This one is worth a mention, even though it is only currently in development in the UK. This one is specifically for the housing sector and employees. Again it syncs with social media, has a nice one-click referral system and great referral bonuses. It may be new, but it highlights the growth in employee referral apps. If this trend continues, more and more sectors and companies may join in.

Are Employee Referral Apps Right For Your Employees?

There are pros and cons to this approach depending on the size of the company, the number of posts and the demographics of employees. Employers with large workforces and younger staff could find that these apps help them fill good jobs with ease. The right app will engage staff with the right interfaces, notifications and reward systems. This continued use means a higher chance of the right referral landing their ideal new job position.

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