Startup Radius interviewed Referon – a mix of referral platform and hiring solution. Looks like Referon found a silver bullet to make hiring as easy and trusted as possible. It can save your company time and money on finding best candidates for your open positions, while rewarding the most loyal and trusted employees – win-win scenario!

Learn how previous experience helps building something new, why happy employees and happy customers are the best brand ambassadors, why email marketing is still one of the best marketing channels, how to implement a smart monetization model, and more. Enjoy!

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Referon?

Referon helps high-growth businesses use employee referrals as their competitive advantage. Referon’s mission is to marry intuitive technology with team humility, enabling businesses to make better talent searches through employee referrals.

We leverage technology to empower businesses to be the best they can be, providing a communication platform built for modern hiring. Our platform mobilises employees as a recruitment force.

Referon - hiring and referral platform

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?

Tom Pugh-Jones (Founder) had been working with a number of interesting businesses as a third-party recruiter. He realised that the model was broken as there was a disconnect between acting on behalf of a company and actually being completely immersed in a company as an employee. He has spotted a number of trends within the market-place and has always been keen on employee referrals, Pugh-Jones Say ‘there’s no better advocate for your brand than a happy employee or a happy customer’.

Who uses Referon? What is your perfect buyer persona?

The larger part of our database are tech startups but really we can cater to any company size and we are industry agnostic. Our clients are mostly companies that want to build a company culture based on diversity, inclusion and who want to empower their existing employees to become part of the hiring process.

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

Our approach is very customer-centric and about building relationships with our clients. We pride ourselves in building talent acquisition solutions with a human focus. We focus on personalisation and localisation within our communications and focus on building a community rather than a database.

One of the more important aspects of growth hacking is understanding and utilising data to ensure you don’t just blindly follow trends but ultimately know how to start predicting trends.

We typically don’t ‘hack’ because a hack typically implies a breach of defenses and exploiting weaknesses. Our strategy is much more focussed on building lasting relationships with our community by continuously providing value.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building Referon early on and how did you solve them?

It’s always a balance trying to build a lean startup with minimal budget. We’ve found that we’re offering a very innovative way of hiring that’s increasing employee engagement in the hiring process. TA teams have been somewhat hesitant in initially adopting the scaled payments at each stage of the interview process… However, we’re seeing this is a great way to build engagement in referral hiring and get results in a fast and effective manner.

Referon - hiring and referral platform interface

If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

Definitely to take the time to understand your customer needs and wants, to promote benefits over features and to always triple check your copy before a campaign launch.

Understanding your customer means you can tailor messaging and build real connections. It also means your customers will be much more willing to engage in activities like testimonials, case studies, and focus groups which can help you then garner new business.

With B2B solutions, it is quite common to promote features which can be a mistake. The customer rarely wants to know the ins and outs of the feature before understanding how it can benefit their bottom line.

I’ve received numerous emails with terrible spelling mistakes that could have been easily avoided. It looks sloppy and make me as a consumer question the care the company will put into my needs when they can’t do a simple spell check.

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

In the SaaS marketing industry there are a variety of options to choose from however, I believe our most used are email marketing, content marketing and we are now becoming more focussed on account based marketing as well.

Email marketing is always an effective strategy if personalisation is the focus.This means going beyond first and last name but using data points like location to build a connection with your users. Content marketing is a great way to build a rapport with potential customers if you take the time to understand your audience. It is imperative to know who you are speaking to before creating but once you’ve built that scope, you can utilise everything from infographics to blogs to get your message across. Account based marketing can is really a great B2B strategy and a form of segmentation which allows you to tailor messaging and act as though the customer is in a market of one.

Is Referon monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?

Yes. We receive a percentage each time a referral goes through our system. The referrer (person within the company) receives a monetary reward through different stages in the hiring process and we also receive a fee at those same stages. This is a method which has proven to be successful and there is no barrier to entry because we only charge the fee once the candidate has started going through the process.

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?

  • Mailchimp
  • Google Analytics
  • LinkedIn
  • Medium
  • HARO
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Seobility