ATS referral module vs Employee referral solution: which to choose?

ATS referral module vs Employee referral solution: which to choose?

Tawfiq Abu-Khajil
July 11, 2024
2 min read
What is the difference?
An ATS’s referral feature is a component of your ATS that allows your employees to submit employee referrals. An employee referral solution is a full platform connected to your ATS and HRIS that allows referral submissions and automatically tracks payouts.

An ideal employee referral solution should consist of two main components 1) Referral Capturing and 2) Automated Payout Tracking 

Referral Capturing is the ability to easily capture employee referrals from your workforce through a frictionless experience. 

Automated Payout Tracking is the process of automatically tracking referral payouts schedules and canceling payouts when either referrer or referee leaves the organization before that payout is due.  

1. Standalone ATS’s

The issue with standalone ATS’s (such as iCIMS and SmartRecruiters), they only offer Referral Capturing and do not provide Automated Payout Tracking. 

This will cause a manual nightmare as referral payouts will need to be tracked on spreadsheets – wasting countless hours on doing so as well as continuously answering employees' questions about their payouts. This will also create a poor experience for your employees – discouraging them from engaging with your employee referral program again. 

2. Full ATS-HRIS Systems

Let’s say you have one system for your ATS-HRIS System (such as Workday). Typically, such ATS’s allow you to capture employee referrals in either one of two ways. 

i. First Option: “Who referred you?”

This is as simple as adding a field on the candidate’s application which asks them to list the name of the employee who referred them. Two issues with this approach: 

  1. This only allows you to capture referrals who actually end up applying. There could be thousands of candidates who visit your job description after being told about it by an employee of yours, read the job, and don’t apply – wasting your opportunity to capture the referral lead. Candidate drop-off is a major issue in Legacy ATS’s.

  2. If the candidate does end up applying and writing your employee’s name on that field, you will have to manually match that name to an employee of yours. This will require manual work from your team and hopes that the correct and full employee name was accurately spelled by the candidate – we hear this is rarely the case as candidates list first names only or “my friend” – ending up creating a manual nightmare of missed payments.

ii. Second Option: Force Logins

The second option to collect referrals in such ATS’s is forcing your employees to login into the ATS and make the referral through there. While this helps you solve the issue of tracking referrals, your referral engagement will plummet. This creates too much friction, especially for frontline employees who are not sitting behind a desk. 

3. Employee Referral Solution 

While an employee referral solution requires an extra investment at first, it will clearly pay back in the long run in helping you increase your employee referral and attract talent. 

Employee referral solutions, like Eqo’s, give you the best of both worlds. On one hand, they provide a frictionless referral capturing experience for your workforce that does not require logins and, on the other hand, they automate payout tracking to save your team time. 

Of course, there’s much they offer that ATS’s don’t – such as gamification, text-reminders, payout notifications and much more.

See why companies are choosing Eqo to power their employee referral program

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