Need a job? Try Facebook

By Candice Krieger, November 15, 2012
Ziv Eliraz, Zao

Ziv Eliraz, Zao

Recruitment just got a whole lot sexier thanks to a new service that aims to bring the job-finding process into the digital age. Israeli start-up, Zao is a social recruiting tool, which enables employers to extend referral reward incentives beyond their employees to entire social networks of people they may know. Users create a job, set a reward, and forward it to their entire network — via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — or only the people they trust the most, depending on the nature of the position.
Zao, pronounced “like wow”, will then help the people who receive the job description to automatically search through the list of hundreds of people they know and identify the top candidates. Cash is paid to the referrer following a successful hire.

Zao founder and chief executive, Ziv Eliraz says: “I was working for an Israeli company, opening their US office in California. I was looking to hire people and did all the usual things; Craigslist, LinkedIn and jobs boards but received so many irrelevant applications. I just didn’t like the whole process so I reached out to the company’s business partners and got an amazing response.” That is when the idea clicked. “I thought: “Loads of us have a network of people who we trust that can help us hire.”

The Zao platform uploads an open position and sets a reward (the company recommends $1,000 to $5,000 for sufficient motivation). The opening can then be forwarded to select trusted individuals or to relevant chosen people through their social networks.

The platform uses matching algorithms to guide would-be referrers through their social networks, to identify viable candidates and also people who are likely to know such candidates.
Zao takes a commission on top of the referral reward.
Launched a few months ago, Zao already has customers in Europe and the US and has attracted a variety of media attention. It was named in the Financial Post’s “Hot Start-ups of the Week.” It has received $1.3 million of investment from high-profile venture capitalist Oren Zeev, a former general partner at Apax, with an impressive track record. He invested in Audible, which was sold to Amazon.

Mr Eliraz, 42, studied law at the Hebrew University, but has spent the past 15 years working for internet companies including Amobee, Hotbar and SmartShopper, in Israel, New York and more recently Pal Alto, California.
He says: “There are other referral sites but this one is based on people you trust. We are using social media for business benefits. Our relationships are mapped out and the data is there via LinkedIn and Facebook.”

Last updated: 9:52am, November 15 2012