The psychology of social referrals

Many recruitment professionals stick to what they are familiar with, using job boards and other hiring resources they already know. Yet social referrals, though new, are effective for many reasons, including their psychological aspect. Here are several reasons why social referrals tend to work better, from a psychological standpoint, when hunting for the right person for a post:

Social referrals build mutual trust

When you post a vacancy to a jobs board, the people who apply are typically active seekers who are scouring the web for every available opportunity meeting their skill set.

Yet when job applicants apply ‘cold’, with no prior knowledge or introduction, there may be lower trust on both the applicant’s and the recruiter’s side.

Social referrals, on the other hand, enable you to tap into your existing network and find extended connections (acquaintances, friends, colleagues current and former and family) among employees.

According to Glassdoor’s stats, 79% of global job seekers use social media in their search. This makes sense since potential applicants can gauge a brand’s persona, company culture, and much more besides from potential employers’ online presence. In other words, they can find the ‘social proof’ (public testimony) they need to feel trust and apply. Similarly, due to applicants being already within your extended network, their legitimacy will already be more likely.

South Africa is catching on fast to these recruitment trends. As there is still a greater mix of traditional recruitment methods (such as cold-contact and jobs boards) being used, it’s a good time to get onboard with finding great talent via social platforms.

Social referrals gain from the power of the ‘like’

In his classic book Influence, Dr Robert Cialdini described 6 principles of persuasion (motivating others to take desired or agreeable actions). ‘Liking’ is one of the core 6.

Facebook has made it easy for brands to reach segments of prospective employees and earn their interest. A first step in a good, psychologically-driven social recruitment strategy is thus to earn the likes of prospective employees.

Social job ads allow showing care which in turn ensures fit 

The second step for a strong social recruiting strategy is to build care.

This is a powerful psychological principle. When prospective employees know what a business cares about – what its ethos and values are – they know whether said cares align with their own.

This process of finding fit, values-wise, is critical to ensure hired applicants blend into the workplace quickly and share (and uphold) important company values.

Social referrals make it easier to initiate

Once the reciprocity of liking and engagement is established, it is time to initiate in the third step of a good referral strategy.

After liking and care have been established, a strong call-to-action, messaging values and benefits relevant to potential applicants, is now better primed to gather credible responses. The brand has taken time to establish a connection that is strengthened by psychological principles of persuasion such as liking and social proof.

Companies can thus use social referrals to appeal to prospective employees on a fundamental psychological level, to tap into an extensive network of active and passive opportunity seekers

Do you need an easier way to create social job ads and process applications? Try Global Refer today.