phone application icons splash out of phone on black backgroundTwo key studies from CareerXRoads and Jobvite have informed us that employee referrals are the no. 1 way employers are finding top talent these days. The CareerXRoads survey has found that 28 percent of new hires are found by networking and referrals compared to just 20.1 percent by job boards. The Jobvite survey found that 40 percent of positions were being filled by networking and referrals, compared to just 15 percent by job boards.

As well as this, the Jobvite survey also found that referred employees get hired faster and stay longer than employees from other channels.

It is not surprising then that more and more employers are making hiring through employee referrals a much larger part of the candidate sourcing mix. Whether you are a hiring manager scouting for your team, an employee wanting to win a bonus for referring top talent or a recruiter, the ability to network with prospective talent face-to-face is a key skill that you will need to be able to generate employee referrals.

The recent arrival of several apps to the marketplace has simplified the process of face-to-face networking. Using these apps will make it much easier for you to find and connect with potential talent at industry events and conferences and even at social gatherings. And below we have outlined seven apps to help you network more effectively  and generate subsequent potential referrals.

1. Foursquare
If you are attending an industry event or social function, you need to know who is there and they need to know you are there. Foursquare is one of the leading “check-in” tools that allows you to announce your arrival at events to your network and share your coordinates – making you visible and contactable to potential contacts from your network for referrals. Of course, this tool also works in reverse so you can pro-actively track down potential talent at industry events.

2. Unsocial
This is a powerful tool for networking at events,  which could generate potential referral prospects. This mobile apps lets you connect with peers and business professionals within your proximity, e.g. at your conference or social function. It then gives you the option to connect with these people, exchange contacts and possibly meet. It is a great icebreaker tool that can help you make valuable face-to-face connections with potential referrals at events.

3. Bump

Once you have made contact with potential referrals at a conference, you can use this great app. You simply bump two phones together that have the app and they will immediately exchange contact informationanother high speed and efficient way to make connections with potential talent at industry events.

4. Card Munch

This app is a business card reader. All you do is take a photo of your contact’s business card and it will automatically upload the business card details to your phone so you can make a connection with a potential referral in seconds.

5. Evernote

This apps allows you to easily take notes relating to discussions you may have had with potential referrals and connections at the event. This is another tool that can enrich your networking experience and make it easier for you to recall information about the potential referral at a later date.

6. LinkedIn

Of course, we all know about LinkedIn, but the app is designed to make it easier to search for talent on the go. This will make it easier for you to do prior research on potential referrals just prior to meeting them, enriching the communication. Download the LinkedIn app simply by visiting the app store or going to LinkedIn through your mobile device.

7. Official Event App

Going to a conference? Don’t forget to download the official industry event app as you may be able to find more details about speakers and attendees who you may be interested in connecting withand who may become possible referrals. They will often include information about event hashtags and other ways to connect with other people attending.

And finally, make sure you and your employees are equipped with a good employee referrals app, like Jobvite or Meshhire, so that if you or your employees do make a potential talent connection, they can quickly send the person a tracked job invite and refer him/her to the company recruitment team.

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