The power of rewarding referrals

How We Hire


So, we heard that eFounders were using Workable, Slack and a virtual currency to power employee referrals and kickstart their hiring. We were more than a little curious and spoke to eFounders’ Rachel Vanier and Quentin Nikmans, to find out more.

Who are eFounders?

They’re a startup studio which works with entrepreneurs to turn unique ideas into successful companies that can stand on their own feet. A couple of their notable success stories include inbox sharing app Front (Y Combinator S14) and Mention, an online media monitoring product.

As well as doing their own hiring with Workable, eFounders help the companies they’re involved with. And while every venture is different most firms will at some stage need to find a CTO and a CPO, as well as a growth marketer or a content person.

These “hard-to-fill roles,” as Nikmans calls them, can be resistant to traditional recruitment tactics, like job boards. Which leaves only two channels that really work: headhunting and networks. What eFounders quickly realized was that they had far-reaching networks full of the kind of people they were looking for.

Before a company hires a growth marketer they’ll likely speak to a host of candidates who might not be the right fit for them but would be great for other companies they know. When added to the fact that good people tend to know other good people, eFounders and their friends could see that they had a potentially powerful network.
The question remained: how could they tap this rich potential?

How can you supercharge referrals?

“Let’s all contribute and help one another. Help more and get rewarded more,” says Nikmans. And this is where the magic happened.


Using tools their teams already knew and liked worked far better than opting for a new specialist referral tool.

It all starts with a Slack account open to all the eFounders affiliates. Everyone working in these firms can see which jobs are open and refer a candidate by simply entering a single short command. Almost like magic (it’s not magic but it’s pretty close). The referred friend would then get an email which includes a link to the application form at Workable. If the candidate went on to apply and get hired (this happens a lot) the source of the referral would get a reward.

Automation of the process is great but what sets eFounders’ approach apart is the reward system. They utilised their own virtual currency, Briqs, which can be traded in for real-life goodies like iPads and Kindles, or for the hungrier and less wired, cheese and wine.

By picking tools like Workable and Slack that their teams already liked and used, eFounders took all the friction out of referring a candidate. “If we’d been using a standalone referral tool we would not have got the same levels of adoption,” says Nikmans.

eFounders top 3 hiring tips
When you have a high caliber candidate ‘shoot fast’. Build a relationship and close fast.
Particularly for technical roles include a lot of people in the hiring process for tests and discussions. Different people have different competencies so they can add value in different stages of the process.
Do your research. Identify as much as you can about a candidate before they join your company.

eFounders and their affiliates are currently hiring with opportunities in New York and Paris. See them all here or read more about their referal system on their blog.


Workable is where an increasing number of smart companies go to solve their hiring puzzle. This is the latest in a series of posts where we talk to great companies about how they hire.