Refer A Developer: recommend a code monkey for ‘phat’ referral rewards

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Refer A Developer

Launched earlier this month, Refer A Developer is a job board with a two-punch pitch. To start, it’s only for developers and secondly, it boasts some of the highest referral bonuses in South Africa.

The duo behind Refer A Developer, David Sarembock and Alex Moldethe reckon that there is a lack of developers looking at normal job boards and that recruitment costs for employers are “astronomical”. In response to their findings, Sarembock and Moldethe decided to build a platform that incentivises people who refer their developer friends or acquaintances for positions. The incentives are pretty big, some as high as R48 000 (US$5 000) — a successful referral can earn you half the referral bonus — Refer A Developer takes the rest.

It’s essentially a matchmaking service for jobs and you get to play cupid. It works like this. Mega Corp. pays to list a job on Refer A Developer. You see the job and think it will be perfect for your friend Jill. You forward the job spec to Jill, Mega Corp. likes what it sees, and you get paid. If Jill isn’t accepted for the job you recommended, but is for another one listed on the site, you still get the referral bonus.

Refer A Developer says that 70% of developer placements are through referrals. The statistic is part of its pitch to employers, which also includes points about financial savings — it’s cheaper to list on Refer A Developer than to go through a recruitment agency, apparently. At the same time, Refer A Developer is also hoping to attract freelance recruiters, touting that 50% referral bonus. Developers can also apply directly and get a starting bonus.

It remains to be seen if big corporates will bite. Refer A Developer competes with traditional recruitment agencies, which have extensive workflows that include pre-screening processes and aptitude tests.

Sarembock and Moldethe will compete by employing what amounts to a crowdsourcing strategy, targeting sought-after developer positions, offering “the highest referral bonuses in South Africa out of any of the referral sites,” coming in at a “fraction of the cost” of traditional recruitment companies, and building on their industry specific mailing list.

“There’s many referral sites out there but none specialising or focusing on developers so we spotted the gap and jumped on the wagon as fast as possible,” says Sarembock.

Locally, Hiring Bounty seems to be showing some traction, and internationally Sarembock points to Barrel of Jobs. Neither however, have a developer bias.

Sarembock is a game ranger by qualification and recruiter by day. Molde heads up technical development of Refer A Developer. They are both equal shareholders in the startup, which is entirely self-funded to the tune of “more than R200K but less than R1 million.”

Looking ahead, Refer A Developer is in the process of getting six new international clients on board.

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