SpringRole: Bringing Crowdsourcing & Gamification To Recruiting 2

SpringRole leverages ease of use and actionable recommendations to make recruiting fun.

This week let us examine another example of the trend of gamification and crowdsourcing being introduced to recruiting. SpringRole is one of the newest entries into the social recruiting industry. It is representative of what can be called the “monetization of socialization”. We use this term because SpringRole enables anyone to monetize what historically would be regarded as an idle asset: the value of their social capital; their personal relationships.

The Santa Monica, CA based company officially launched in August 2014 after two years of beta as a hiring tool for portfolio companies (e.g. Dollar Shave Club) of Los Angeles’ start-up company incubator Science, Inc. Whereas in a previous review, Recruitifi was described as the “Uber of recruiting”, SpringRole can more aptly be described as the “Taskrabbit of recruiting.” SpringRole differentiates itself by enabling regular people to make money for the simple task of referring their friends for job openings, much as Taskrabbit enables anyone to earn a “quick buck” for performing simple tasks or errands for strangers.

How it works: SpringRole is a crowdsourcing recruiting platform that enables anyone to quickly and easily receive cash rewards ranging from $25-$150 or more by referring their friends and acquaintances for job openings. Anyone can sign into SpringRole at no cost and can immediately view job openings on SpringRole. However, the catch is that the only way to apply for a job on SpringRole is to be referred by a friend. Presently users can sign in with their LinkedIn or Google+ accounts. SpringRole users will soon have the ability to add their Facebook, Twitter, Quora and other accounts, in order to expand their prospective referral pool. SpringRole uses an advanced algorithm to provide users with suggested people to refer for posted job openings. Additionally, SpringRole ranks users by posting their SpringRole Score based on their success on the site, Loyalty Score based on the quality and consistency of their activity on the site,  and Social Media Score based on the strength of their social media connections, interactions, and activity. The job applicants’ chances improve if the friend  referring them has similar work history and qualifications (i.e. has worked in the same industry or group of companies) and has higher Springrole scores. As most people do not think or act like a recruiter,  SpringRole’s algorithms entice referral activity on the platform by providing a shortlist of prospective referrals based on how well the information on their LinkedIn (or other social media) profile matches up with the job posting. Additionally, users receive daily emails with a shortlist of job openings and 3-4 suggested people to refer to those openings.  With a single click referrers can send a special link to their contacts inviting them to view and apply to the job posting on SpringRole’s platform. The referrer receives a cash reward if the person referred ends up applying to the position and the employer is interested in interviewing the applicant.

The costs: Employers pay a fixed monthly subscription fee to post one or multiple jobs on the platform. A company has 3 different monthly packages from which to choose: Basic, Gold and Platinum priced at $99, $699 and $1749 respectively. The 3 pricing tiers are based on a corresponding increasing level of customer service, technology features, exposure on the SpringRole site and social media, and the maximum number of referrals allowed per job (the Gold and Platinum plans allow for unlimited referrals).

The benefits: SpringRole is a cheap, fast, very easy to use, and prospectively cost-effective way to crowdsource a candidate pool for job openings. There is no barrier to entry and therefore, no barrier preventing anyone who has a prospective referral from doing so if they desire. If done properly, SpringRole can be a great platform to help a companies’ employment brand go viral and ultimately to scale their hiring. However, much of this depends on employers receiving the right marketing advice from their SpringRole advisor and the right assistance from SpringRole on putting together a “sexy” job description that will both entice people to refer the job opening to their friends and to compel those friends to actually apply to the job. On a cost-adjusted basis, SpringRole can be thought of as a more social, interactive, and potentially more comprehensive job board than is currently offered by sites like Indeed, Careerbuilder, Monster, and LinkedIn. However, at the time of this writing, it is too early to tell if this will be the case.

The Drawbacks: SpringRole as a referral application is a double edged sword. Its main benefit is its simplicity, but that is also its greatest liability. If people wish more advanced assistance or experiences on the platform, their ability to do so is quite limited at this time. Inherently, as a site with a very singular focus, SpringRole naturally has several drawbacks related to the features and service offerings it does not provide. For example, once one goes beyond the suggested referrals on the SpringRole platform and emails, there is no additional assistance available from SpringRole on ranking, or sorting prospect referrals to help users who wish to find additional possible referrals for a job opening. This is due to another drawback of SpringRole, which is its almost exclusive reliance on its algorithm.

Like any algorithm, SpringRole is based on advanced keyword searching in order to make a prospective match. Keyword searching can be helpful in certain cases, but it inevitably leads to false positives or missed matches due to the contact not having the right “key words” in their profile, job titles, etc. or perhaps simply having an outdated or incomplete profile on social media.

The greatest advertisement any businesses ever has is a successful engagement with a client and/or ambassador of the business. The company presently does not know how many referrals on its site have led to actual hires. SpringRole is designed to be simple, quick, easy, and transactional. However, one of the drawbacks of this set-up is that it discourages and even prevents the cultivation of relationships between top referrers and top employers so as to introduce more repeat referrals and qualitative referrals on the site.

Possible Concerns: SpringRole like many of its peer “social recruiting” sites conflates sourcing, referring, and recruiting to all mean the same thing, when in fact all the are completely different. This is not a problem as long as employer expectations are properly managed (and with its business and pricing model it appears they are). SpringRole is a tool for community members to source and refer candidates, not to recruit (i.e. sell candidates) nor to build relationships with prospective “employment brand ambassadors”/referrers. SpringRole must find a way to avoid being a one trick pony; otherwise, even if the market and product prove itself, larger players in the space such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor,  The Ladders, Careerbuilder, and Indeed could easily build their own tool similar to SpringRole.

Conclusion: As an application, SpringRole distinguishes itself with its ease of use and practical and actionable recommendations; namely, which job openings are a best fit for your social network and which people in your network appear to be good matches for those openings. As SpringRole moves forward and gains more users, it must find a way to keep users on the site and motivated to return to the site on a regular basis. $25-$150 only motivates one-off referrals when users happen to be on the site or check their email from SpringRole with suggested referrals. An application is not a business, it is a tool. Therefore, unless SpringRole wishes to add on additional services to its platform, its most likely long term success and solution is to become an added feature to job boards like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Monster and hope they don’t find it economical to try to build a similar tool themselves. It would be wise for Springrole to put together a diverse advisory board with experience and expertise on things such as candidate experience, employer experience, recruiting, and social media as it looks to scale the business. To scale the business, it could be more effective to find a way to develop more of an online presence on sites where SpringRole can reach prospective “super referrers” such as recruiters who a) tend to have very large social media networks and b) know how to successfully refer people to employers.

SpringRole is a very young business that deserves to be graded on a curve. That being said, SpringRole must find a way to quickly evolve itself to become more “sticky” to keep users on the site and to keep them returning to the site. In other words, they need content. They need more features for employers, referrers, and candidates to take advantage of the captive audience they have cultivated through their impressive technology and platform. Glassdoor.com went through this same process and is now a billion dollar company. However, it all starts with finding a way to have content, besides just job postings, that both candidates and employers want to see. Once you get the candidates on the site (a la Glassdoor), it has been proven that employers will pay a premium for access and visibility to top candidates. It is too early to tell at this time if this will be the case, but if SpringRole finds a way to drive job seekers to the site, keep them on the site, keep them coming back to the site, and have them keep referring their friends to the site, then they will have themselves a great business as well as a great platform for employers and job seekers to connect.


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