Startup of the Week / For HR Departments, Humans Are the Ultimate Resource

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High-tech companies are in constant competition for outstanding employees, many of them offering rewards — tablets, smartphones and, of course, money — to employees who refer a successful applicant.

Tomigo, a startup based in Herzliya, developed an automatic system that enables a company’s human-resources department to bring employees into the hiring process. It combines social networks with elements that turn the recruiting process into a contest, allowing employees to refer their friends for rewards.

Tomigo’s founders — CEO Tal Moran, his twin brother Nimrod, CTO, and business development manager Lior Atias, grew up together in Haifa and attended the same high school. Tal and Nimrod recall that when they were 16 years old, they began developing Internet projects, taking turns programming on the same computer. They later volunteered for the Israeli Navy’s Mamtam unit, which focuses on IT, processing and computing. Atias served in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps’ technological department. The three of them founded Tomigo in 2011.

“Companies have a hard time finding high-quality workers,” says Tal Moran. “Recruiters send job offers to workers, hoping that the workers will refer candidates to them. When workers at a company can recommend their friends, that creates natural filtering. Thousands of candidates come through the want ads, and the chance of finding someone excellent and suitable is low. According to studies, 10 CVs are enough to conduct a successful recruitment process when friends refer applicants. In comparison, the want ads and placement firms need 100 CVs to find one suitable candidate. Referrals by friends are very economical.”

Tal, Nimrod and Lior established Tomigo when they saw, as employees themselves, how hard it was to find high-quality people. Hard of hearing since birth — their first language was Israeli Sign Language — they were sensitive to the needs of a group whose needs are often not addressed.

“Nimrod and I know a community of excellent people who are hard of hearing. We have friends who went to school and are very talented, but it’s hard for them to find jobs because of the difficulty in communicating. When they pick up a telephone, they don’t hear anything. I realized that in the age of social networks, these things could be linked together. We could use referrals by friends to provide access to a hard-to-reach population. In other words, we could connect organizations or companies with talented people,” Tal Moran said.

When it comes to job recruiting, friend referrals by employees are nothing new. But Tomigo upgraded the process by making it automatic and easy for hiring and HR managers. One of the important parts of the process is that employees’ friends can recommend friends of their own. “Gamification” capabilities were also built into the product: Employees who bring in a high number of candidates receive points, and the entire process becomes a kind of game or contest held within the company. While the product was being developed, the founders met with HR departments in various companies and learned about the process of referring friends and recruiting new employees. They also looked at the kinds of incentives that got employees involved and made them want to send referrals along.

So how does an employee use Tomigo’s product? The service is provided using the SAAS (software as a service) delivery model, where the service is in the cloud: no installation, software or special system is needed. Hiring managers register for the service, enter the open positions into Tomigo’s database and then invite employees to join the process. The reward for a successful referral appears beside each position. The system includes tools for advertising jobs on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. When candidates send in their CVs, the HR department can see the name of the friend who provided the referral. They can also see which jobs are most in demand or which social networks are the most effective for recruiting employees. The companies pay a monthly subscription fee to use the product; the fee is determined by the number of users and jobs. Tal Moran says that the product saves companies 80 percent of the cost of hiring using the traditional methods.

More than 50 companies in Israel, the United States and Europe use Tomigo’s system for their recruiting needs. Among Tomigo’s clients are Perrigo, Siemens and Matrix, together with many hi-tech, media, manufacture and industry firms. Tomigo has doubled the number of its employees to 10 and opened an office in San Francisco in addition to the one in Herzliya. It raised roughly $500,000 from the Tel Aviv Angel Group, a group of private investors.

'According to studies, 10 CVs are enough to conduct a successful recruitment process when friends refer applicants,' says CEO Tal Moran.Credit: Courtesy
Tomigo's employees.Credit: Tomigo

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