We recently hired another staff member, and as we wound down the process, one of the key factors in choosing the person we did was based on the type of work they had done previously and the positive feedback from others who had worked with that person in those prior positions.
This made me stop and think about an old, but mostly true, saying:
“Past performance is the best predictor of future performance.”
As you likely know from prior blogs, I’m a big believer in employee assessments — both in the hiring process and for post-hire development. Assessments (when used properly) are an excellent way to gather very valid and objective data about applicants that you otherwise would not access until after they’re hired. Likewise, the better assessment providers allow you to create benchmarks of common traits among your better performers. In turn, this helps you get a better sense of how well a potential hire matches up to those existing good performers.
At the same time, if you think about the hiring process for most organizations, there’s another component that can significantly improve the likelihood of better hires. That component…the reference check.
Before your mind wanders to the frustration and time spent chasing down references, let me qualify this a bit. I’m talking about reference checks that can actually be quantified and used for ongoing review of your hiring successes and disappointments.
There are solutions available that allow you to not only automate the process of procuring references from employees — they also allow you to gather information from those references in a way that produces more responses, more quickly and with better information.
Targeted Reference Checks
By utilizing this type of approach, you are able to determine the types of specific characteristics for which you want feedback from references. Instead of simply confirming employment dates and job titles, you can now allow references to rate a given applicant on these specific things that you know from experience are important for your particular position. Since the process is anonymous for the references, they consistently provide more truthful responses and more relevant information.
Any applicant can put down 3 references on an application — especially if you don’t quantify what type of references you require. With this automated alternative, however, you may dictate whether you want former bosses, former peers, former direct reports, current peers, etc.
My point here isn’t to lobby for reference checks over assessments. Ideally, you can use both. Instead, this is simply an option that many folks don’t know exists. By utilizing it properly, you have the opportunity to make hiring decisions more predictable and continue to bring a larger number of good performers into your organization. After all, isn’t this the primary objective of any talent acquisition process?
To learn more about how employee assessment and reference check options available through ExactHire can make hiring more predictable for your organization, please contact us today.