Inside eFounders
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Inside eFounders

How we made employee referral as easy as a Slack command line

Project code: H.I.R.E — How to Internally Recruit Excellence

So, if you’ve been following us for a bit, you know we are huge fans of Slack. Communicating with your teams throughout the world and integrating all of the services you use becomes as easy as a command line. We’re using custom-made Slack commands to exchange our own virtual currency, to quote our colleagues, to launch Google Hangouts, to ask people to get lost and to share tweets.

Quickly enough, we were wondering: could we even make our core business easier, using Slack?

As a startup studio, building 3 to 4 startups a year, we spend a great deal of time recruiting people. Inside eFounders itself, plus Aircall (so, excluding 6 companies), we received 516 job applications in 6 months. We screened 192 of them and recruited 14 (awesome) collaborators.

Oh, and actually, we don’t have an HR department. We use Workable, which is a great tool to track and collaborate on job applications. We have several techniques to build a talents-pipeline, but there is one that works much better than any other: employee referral. Since our current employees are, according to us, the best there can be, it only makes sense that their friends and acquaintances might be of interest for us.

It was pretty ambitious to make employee referral as easy as a Slack command line, but we did it.

Type /refer to … refer someone

That’s actually as easy as that.

All of our Slack users — we call ourselves TheNetwork, that is to say all eFounders, plus all startups co-founded by eFounders, and some close friends — can type this command. It prompts a list of job positions currently open in TheNetwork. The referrer just has to type in the email of the referee along with the job ID he or she wants to refer someone for.

That’s done.

How it works:

All of our job openings are managed by Workable. We use the Workable API to regularly upload our job offers and applicants in our database.

When someone types /refer in Slack, it retrieves the information from our database and generates a referral in our system so that we can see who referred who.

The server then generates an URL and sends it automatically by email to the referrer so that he can provide it to his friend.

Each time the application’s status is updated -applied, phone screened, interviewed, hired — the system sends an email to the referrer so he can follow the recruitment process.

Get rewarded for referring your friends

We truly believe that employees who refer talents should be rewarded: as we wrote before, recruiting high profiles for our startups is core to our business, it would make no sense not to reward referrers for their good work.

We could have given referrers a bonus or a percentage of the recruit’s wage, but we found a way that not only is more fun, but also more in accordance with our company culture.

We’ve built our own virtual currency on Slack, called the briqs. We exchange this money instead of “thankyous” and “congrats”: that’s our way to trade kindness with a sense of business. These briqs, although virtual, can get you actual goods on our virtual shop.

Therefore, every time an employee refers someone who gets hired, he or she gets 2000 briqs — briqs are not yet indexed to dollar or gold. But let’s say it’s the equivalent of the latest iPad.

Briqs are distributed as follows:

  • 100 briqs when the applicant gets a phone interview,
  • 400 for an IRL interview
  • 1500 if he or she gets hired

That’s 2000 total. How did we choose this amount? To be honest, pretty much on a hunch, based on the volume of briqs exchanged on a daily basis (FYI, we can only make 6-bq transactions at a time). We might adjust this number in the future.

We also discussed this with Rob Long,VP of Growth at Workable, he suggested we might also adapt our rewards to the time-span the referred employee spends in the company. We haven’t implemented this yet but we think it is totally in accordance with our philosophy.

“I referred two people who got hired, that’s 4000 briqs. So, I’m thinking: Lego orgy. Or Wii U for the office. I could also get an Ipad Air 2… nah. Lego.” Laurent Perrin, Front’s CTO

Employee referral as part of our startup-building infrastructure

Being a startup studio does not only imply building startups (although, yea, it’s pretty much the deal) — every great edifice needs great foundations. That is why we are also building an infrastructure, the mortar that keeps all these bricks together. We call it “TheNetwork”

You can learn more about TheNetwork on our previous blog post, but the idea revolves around three pillars:

  • Key people: our core team provides hands-on expertise to our co-founders to enable our startups to grow fast and minimize the risk of failure.
  • Knowledge well managed: each step of a startup’s development is optimized and then, documented in our Books — actionable “how-tos” and templates created and updated by our experts’ team.
  • Tailor-made tools: every recurrent action is thought through and if relevant, optimized thank to a tool we build internally.

Knowing that, it seems pretty obvious that our H.I.R.E project is definitely a major brick in our building. It is a crucial tool that we’ve built, helping us with our #1 pillar: recruiting the best of people in our team and as co-founders.

We’d love to hear your own experience with employee referral — it’s always a good way to improve our own processes.

ps: we’re hiring

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We’re the startup studio building the future of work. We inspire new ways of working and have launched over 30 companies including Front, Aircall, Spendesk, and Slite.

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