What’s the value of a reference? Why reference checks are more relevant than ever

04 Feb 2021 by Chris Hunter

Reference checks have long been an important part of the hiring process. At the most basic level, they help you confirm that your candidate for a role has the experience and skill set that they say they do.

What’s the value of a reference? Why reference checks are more relevant than ever

Sounds all very normal right? For HR teams and recruiters, it’s just a part of the job, but if you’re doing it manually, it can be time consuming and, at times, let’s face it, pretty mundane. But love it or hate it, reference checking is critical.

I’m always surprised when I hear people questioning the value of a reference. For me, reference checks are just as valuable as ever, maybe even more so in the employment world that we now live in.

Checking on candidates in a digital world

Every company right now has had to embrace video interviewing. It’s a technology that divides people; some love it, others hate it. For me, it works both ways although I believe face-to-face certainly has its advantages.

There’s no doubt that the switch to video has resulted in our interviewing process growing longer. Whether it’s down to the fact that with video it’s easier to schedule a number of interviews with multiple people within your business, or it seems like you need more ‘face time’ to make a call on a candidate, it feels to me from talking to hundreds of clients that this change has made the process more time consuming and difficult.

It’s for this reason that reference checks are more important than ever. Through video you can lose a little of the connection you forge in a face-to-face interaction. Reference checks are still needed to find out whether a candidates interview answers stack up, whether they really meet the requirements your business or client has for the role. Without a reference check you’re accepting the person at face value: While that might sound nice, it’s important to have that additional information to back up your decision. Making a wrong hire brings a ton of issues, costing you time and money.

For example, I’ve been working with an aged care provider recently and through automating reference checks and ensuring that they take extra care in making the right hiring decisions upfront, they’ve seen a 40% reduction in employees leaving the business inside the first year.

Soft skills matter

Reference checks give you more than just skills and experience. For many roles there’s an element of ‘fit’ that you’re looking for, someone who has the temperament or ability to work in a fast-paced environment, as an example. We all know that these skills are just as, if not more important, than experience and qualifications. 

Everyone in an interview obviously gives a positive response in this situation and it’s here that a reference check can be incredibly valuable. You can ask a referee questions around their ability to handle these types of situations. Using Referoo, you can do this through an online questionnaire, via SMS, or by a voice call.

Picking up fraudulent references

Its never nice to catch someone in a lie but, let’s face it, it’s been proven plenty of times that people embellish their experience and skills on their CV. That little white lie from a candidate can prove to be quite costly once you’ve brought them on board.

Reference checks allow you to marry up what they’ve told you against reality. Were they really a Sales Director in that role or just an account manager?

There’s even a further step you can take with this. Beyond lying on their CV, it’s not uncommon for candidates to provide fraudulent referees as well. We’ve had Referoo clients that, using the fraudulent reference checking features on our platform, have been able to detect referees completing references from the same IP address, showing that one person is completing two supposedly different references.

One client recently caught numerous fraudulent references in the one day. It saved them from making the wrong hiring decision that could have cost them thousands.

Automate the process

We know that Referoo will save you time and money when doing reference checks, all while ticking every compliance box along the way. Want to discuss how you can be doing better reference checks? DM me here or email me at chris@referoo.com.au.