The Necessity of Reference Checking

Despite how important it is to thoroughly vet your next hire, few businesses take the time or expense to initiate a thorough background assessment.

While having a “gut” positive reaction about a candidate is important, there are myriad reasons to check new employee references.

Here are just two:

  • Internal security: much of your business secrets are available on company IT systems and how easy the system can be internally stolen, a new hire should be vetted.
  • Danger: employees can sometimes be hazardous to themselves and others.

 Reference checking is critical to making your business more competitive and protecting it.  Today +90% of reference checking can be done online; it is fast and affordable.

Here are some additional reasons you will want to check your employees’ references, if you are not routinely doing so already.

  1. Automated reference checking solutions allow you to move faster than the competition. With the economy growing, good candidates aren’t available for long. Don’t lose your next great hire to the competition while you’re reaching out to confirm the right references and their contact information. With automated reference checking solutions, you can reach 4 to 5 references in under 2 business days.
  2. Call it quits on phone tag and getting routed to an HR person.  Consider utilizing an automated, cloud-based process to obtain job-specific feedback from references. You can use your time for other things and get the pertinent information on whether to make that hire.
  3. Look ahead by looking back. In reference checking the goal is find positive indications of future performance. While how well a candidate performed in the past is often buried in a vaguely positive referral. A reference check verifies the candidate’s skills or knowledge, as well as the specific soft skills and behaviors of doing the job well.
  4. Modify candidate questions to fit position needs. The skills needed for an accounting role are much different than those needed for sales. So why are you asking references nearly the same questions for every job role? How do you know the right questions to ask for each and every hire? Job-specific surveys developed by experts can let you learn the candidate’s suitable for the position.
  5. Avoid that one bad hire that can affect the whole company. When an employee doesn’t work out, it can create a toxic environment and hurt everyone’s productivity, damage the company’s brand, and more. A bad hire is 29-times more costly than a good hire. But how do you gauge soft skills like a candidate’s work ethic, professionalism, attention to safety protocols, or the ability to work in a team environment? With the right online reference solution, you can ask about whether a software engineer can understand product requirements or whether a service representative has empathy when listening to customers.
  6. Add some analytics to the mix. Performing well in a job requires the right combination of skills, experience, and behaviors’; it’s a complex equation. Background screening can provide detailed reports for all your candidates and comparison reports across candidates. Why not apply actionable data behind your hiring decisions rather than relying solely on your gut?
  7. Go mobile. Today’s candidates and references are hooked to their mobile devices. Making your reference checking solution mobile increases the chances that they’ll respond quickly. Reference feedback is available more than 20% faster when candidates use mobile devices instead of a PC.
  8. Support compliance. Some organizations have thrown in the towel and given up on checking references on a consistent basis. But it’s a costly omission. Companies can be sued for negligent hiring, discrimination, or other claims if candidate assessment criteria are biased, or not checked consistently across all applicants. It’s not just about good processes; it’s about the law. Replace potential bias with science to assess candidates objectively and consistently. And make sure your solution adheres to EEOC guidelines too.
  9. Enable your hiring managers to excel. Busy schedules and lack of HR training can prevent hiring managers from preparing well for job interviews. Make them pros by giving them detailed feedback reports and behavioral interview questions in advance of the interview. They’ll know the right questions to ask so interviews are more productive and on target.
  10. Champion diversity. Evidence is mounting that having a more diverse workforce delivers serious benefits. Achieving diversity and realizing its advantages means reaching the widest possible range of candidates. It also means assessing them for their ability to do the job they’re applying for. But many barriers still stand in the way. Online reference checking solutions can help you quickly and legally assess job-specific skills, without adverse bias.
  11. Don’t let language be a barrier to finding your next great candidate. Multilingual reference support gives all references a chance to weigh in, even if English is not their primary language. Nearly 1 in 10 working-age U.S. adults speaks a language other than English, according to a Brookings Institute study.
  12. Make a good impression. Candidates aren’t the only ones under the microscope; they’re checking you out too. A good reference checking solution will help your company stand out from the others. It says you’re a forward thinking organization, embracing new technologies to get the job done and always thinking one step ahead. This can be a real-game changer. Plus, these solutions help you build your organization’s brand by offering custom branded opt-in pages, links, and forms to promote your organization and recruit not just references, but referrals and visitors to your website and career page.
  13. Build a talent pipeline. Great people tend to know other great people. With automated reference checking and sourcing tools, you can reach more references, and turn them into future candidates. Talent determines the success or failure of every business. With the best people in the right positions, your company can achieve amazing things.

The bottom line is reference checking is an important tool for your business success. Automated reference checking can be an effective tool for streamlining the process.

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