Automated candidate reference checks – The key to achieving accurate hiring


July 18, 2022

Reference checks are a means for recruiters to better understand a candidate through their peers’ perspectives. Recruiters can learn about their candidates’ strengths, weaknesses, conduct, and previous responsibilities. Speaking with references allows recruiters to verify claims candidates make in their resumes. This is critical as survey findings from Checkster, a reference checking company, show that 78% of candidates who applied for a job admit they did or would consider misrepresenting themselves on their application.

In a 2019 survey from global staffing firm Accountemps, senior managers reported they removed approximately one in three candidates (34%) from consideration for a position with their company after checking their references. When conducted diligently, reference checks allow recruiters to further shortlist their candidates with the help of unique insights that can only be delivered by their peers. This helps them make a well-informed decision about a candidate’s fit for their company. 

  • Challenges with candidate reference checking

    Despite the importance of reference checks, recruiters often face many challenges while conducting them. First, each candidate provides multiple references. Manually contacting each referee adds a lot of time to the recruitment process, especially with high-volume hiring. 

    Letters of recommendation provided by referees may not have the information that recruiters are looking for, while emails have to be read through and analyzed. Consequently, the workload of recruiters is increased, along with the time to hire. 

    Issues may also arise from a recruiter’s method of reference checking. A lack of a standard questionnaire or method may make it difficult for recruiters to make meaningful comparisons between candidates. The questions chosen by recruiters may not reveal the most important or desirable information about a candidate. Last, the candidate’s choice of references themselves may not provide the insights that recruiters are looking for.

    Therefore, when conducted manually, reference checking can be a tedious process that ultimately may not be fruitful for recruiters. However, the nature of this task makes it a prime candidate for optimization with automation.

  • Why should candidate reference checking be automated?

    Using slower and less efficient methods of reference checking will prolong the selection process and impact candidate experience, leading to the loss of quality prospects. A study by Hedricks et al. in 2013 showed that online methods of reference checking have proven to be faster and more efficient than phone or written letters of recommendation. Automation can further optimize this process and improve its efficiency.

    Automation also removes any inherent biases in the existing process of reference contacting and improves the accuracy of data collection. As a result, this frees up time for recruiters to partake in other strategic activities. Automated processes also improve the candidate experience and lead to a reduction in candidate drop-off. 

  • How does impress.ai’s end-to-end recruitment platform automate reference checking?

    impress.ai automates and simplifies the process of reference checking by using AI-powered virtual assistants to help recruiters avoid the potential pitfalls of the reference checking process. The platform allows recruiters to create and submit a questionnaire to be asked to referees based on the job requirements. Responses to the questions are captured either in multiple-choice or long answer formats. 

    Recruiters can assign specific scores to candidate responses, and the responses are ranked based on the scores that make the evaluation quick and efficient. After recruiters have created their questions and rubrics, a virtual assistant invites candidates to provide the emails of their referees. Referees are subsequently contacted and invited to a session with a virtual assistant.

    The virtual assistant asks referees the questions designated by the recruiters. Referees can respond in a conversational format at their convenience. The platform captures responses and generates personalized reports that give recruiters key insights about a candidate at a glance through their pre-defined evaluation rubrics. It also allows recruiters to easily compare reference insights with other candidate insights to get a holistic picture of the candidate. Recruiters can obtain a better understanding of their candidates and carry out accurate hiring with minimal effort. 

  • Conclusion

    Referees are a unique source that can provide recruiters with information that can make or break a candidate assessment. It is essential that a referee’s knowledge of a candidate is leveraged with the help of a robust reference checking methodology. Automation gives recruiters the opportunity to focus on the key details of the reference checking process without having to worry about the logistics of the process itself. By automating repetitive tasks, recruiters can decimate their time to hire and focus instead on their findings about candidates, assisted by generated reports based on the referee’s responses. Automated candidate checks are an essential feature that organizations should look at for any recruitment platform as it reduces time-to-hire, increase recruitment efficiency, and achieve accurate hiring. 

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