Consider Hiring Software for Automated Reference Checks

Does your organization still regularly check references for most hires? There are very different lines of thinking for how valuable this process is for a potential employer. Some view the checking of references as a mere formality, reasoning that no potential hire is going to provide anything but great references.

Others view this process as a way to better understand what traits in a potential hire really stood out to prior employers, peers, etc. From this vantage point, the process is a final opportunity to more fully understand the person that’s about to be hired.

Regardless of how you view this, the fact is that most companies will continue to perform these reference checks. For those organizations, a couple of core challenges come with this function:

#1 – Logistics of Checking References

Trying to successfully contact references for potential hires is the most common reason organizations and their HR teams find this to be painful. People are busy, contact information may not be provided accurately, etc. Then there’s the question of how to collect reference feedback and keep it with the rest of your applicant’s information — separate notes, in your hiring software, etc.

#2 – Limited Information Available

Many references are hesitant to share much information about your potential hire. They may be concerned that it will get back to the applicant, or they more likely are concerned that anything potentially negative that’s shared in the reference checking process may create exposure for them or their company. Even when information is shared, it tends to be very general, meaning it may not really be all that helpful for the potential employer.

Because of these challenges, we’re starting to see more organizations investigate electronic reference checks to automate reference check questions. By injecting technology into this process, the core issues mentioned above are mitigated significantly.

Benefits of Electronic Automated Reference Checks

It is easy, convenient, and intuitive to automate reference check questions because the process is similar to an automated survey. References are able to provide feedback on their own timeline, which means the HR team can avoid phone tag and email trades with references. At the same time, the potential employer is able to determine the core traits and competencies for which feedback is solicited from the references. In turn, this feedback is provided back to the employer in the form of numbers — i.e., references rank this potential hire on average as 6 out of 10 for punctuality.

Now you have more objective information about the potential hire, along with the added benefit of getting that feedback with less time or effort. Ultimately, this  allows you to gauge over time what ranges of reference feedback correspond with good or poor performers in the context of your specific organizational culture. This is simply an extension of how technology and metrics are being used to better evaluate human resources activities in organizations.

Think about your attitude and methodology regarding reference checks in your organization. Does it make sense to automate reference check questions? There are now more options available to help turn this “necessary evil” into a useful metric for you and your team.

ExactHire offers a web-based portal that makes it easy for employers to launch automated reference checks. For more information about our tools, please visit our resources section or contact us today. –

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Image credit: e-mail symbol by Micky Aldridge (contact)

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