Zao Launches Free Employer Career Sites to Bolster Referral Platform

Tel Aviv-based career referral site Zao launched a new feature today to help employers set up free career sites with built-in rewards. The company helps employers find referrals by tapping into their existing employees’ networks, offering rewards and making it easy to share positions with potential candidates. Today’s new career pages mean companies can create their own site with built-in rewards, either hosted on a Zao domain or on the company’s own website.

Zao launched in September 2011, and raised $1.3 million in June 2012 for its social recruitment platform. Founder Ziv Eliraz said the company is still focused on referrals, but they launched career sites to give employers a way to source new hires and showcase their brand. “We decided to launch career sites as a free feature because it fits very well with our model of leveraging a company’s trusted social network for referrals, including former employees, business partners and vendors,” Eliraz said in an interview. “Companies need to get the word out, and a great looking career site is one of the best ways to do it.”

Zao’s existing referral platform lets employers upload jobs and set a reward for employees who refer a successful hire, typically around the $1,000 mark according to Eliraz. The platform provides referral tracking, social network integration, and applicant tracking, and is free unless employers set a reward, in which case they pay Zao 30 percent of the reward’s value (on top of the reward, which Zao distributes to the referrer or referrers). Employers can wait up to 90 days after a hire to pay the reward to make sure the employee is a fit.

Eliraz said the new free career sites are targeted at companies of all sizes, and that they have SMBs using it as their only career site, and larger companies using it in conjunction with their existing hiring tools. Employers can add text, images, videos and other content to their page, add job postings, and manage their referral programs using Zao’s existing platform. Companies can host the page on a Zao domain, or use the company’s API to host it on their own domain.

We’ve covered the busy social recruiting space before, with companies like JobVite, BranchOut, matchFWD and Work4 Labs trying to tap into the power of social networks to find candidates. Work4 Labs raised $11 million in funding in early September for their Work For Us Facebook referral app, which has over 17,000 companies using it around the world. Eliraz said that unlike Work4 Labs, their platform isn’t built on Facebook, and their business model is different (Work4 Labs offers subscription plans).

“While I believe Facebook has a very bright future for social recruiting, and it’s thoroughly embedded in Zao, it’s still much less than half of the source of referrals on our platform. If you’re focusing your career site just on Facebook, you’re missing out on many great candidates,” he said. “Another big differentiator is price and business model. With Zao, you can have as many open jobs as you want, with as many employees and users as you like, and it doesn’t cost you anything. With many other companies you end up paying monthly fees whether you hire or not.”

Eliraz wouldn’t disclose what else is on the product roadmap for the company in the coming months, and the company hasn’t reported how many jobs have been filled through the platform since launch, or how much money has been paid out in rewards. The new company pages are a way to bolster the number of jobs employers are posting on the platform, and by extension the number of rewards they’re offering. Whether Zao can stand out among other career site tools like Daily Muse, not to mention a company’s own career center, remains to be seen, but Eliraz believes that having a devoted careers site like the ones they’re launching today is key to hiring success.


Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a Co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform. Also a former Managing Director at Eighty-Eight, a creative communications agency based in Toronto. She was formerly the Managing Editor at BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter at @erinbury.

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