Candidate Support

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Quick guide to Reference Checks

While the pre-background checking process has changed massively in recent years, with a wealth of new checks contributing to further insights into candidates, reference checking was one of the earliest background checks, and almost all new employers look to past managers for insights into how candidates perform at work, and for confirmation of skills and professional achievements.

But traditional reference checking is a slow and cumbersome process, with candidates providing a list of references on their CV or application form, and HR departments contacting referees directly either by post, email, or phone. Referees then had to find the time to answer the reference request, which then must be processed by the new employer.

This whole procedure could add weeks to the hiring timeline, affecting candidate engagement and in some cases, leading to employers bypassing reference checking altogether. Up to 20% of employers admit that they don’t always check references, but this is a dangerous tactic. A recent report found that 30% of people have lied on their resume, and the most common lie relates to work experience.

Traditional reference checking involved confirming dates and responsibilities, a rather binary check which didn’t add much to the understanding of the candidate or provide additional information which could indicate candidates’ strengths or areas to grow.

But digital technology allows prospective employers to delve much deeper into a candidate’s skills, and foster a better understanding of their communication levels, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities, as well as being faster and more convenient for the referee.

The latest reference checks can be accessed from any mobile device, providing a much more convenient experience for the referee, and resulting in a higher response rate (up to 85%). Digital reference checks can also be carried out in an average turnaround time of 48 hours.

As well as speed and convenience, the latest checks also result in richer data which can be proven, tracked, and protected via blockchain.

The structured reference format which is characteristic of digital reference checks creates a more consistent reference for easier comparison between candidates and can be tailored to each individual role or repeated across the board. Referees often feel more comfortable being honest in digital references, knowing that their responses are completely confidential, resulting in deeper insights which can be used to not only make better hiring decisions, but also to tailor onboarding and training for new staff.

Our digital reference checking can be fully integrated into your applicant tracking system (ATS), and you can include references in candidates Veremark Career Passports, to use and compare data over time.

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