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Online Reference-Checking Tools Ease Candidate Reviews

This month’s edition provides an in-depth look at how technology is easing the workload for HR Professionals. Here are ways HR professionals can utilize evolving technology to improve hiring, staffing, employee morale, onboarding and other management tasks.Online reference checking tools

While the economic downturn has been difficult for job hunters, it has created a different set of problems for recruiters.

HR professionals are inundated with applicants, and a significant number of applicants are embellishing their qualifications and their references because of the competition.

Even in the best of times, selecting qualified applicants can be a challenge.

Traditionally, a recruiter will rely on gut instinct during an interview.

Reference-checking is done by phone at the end of the hiring process.

However, because of to concerns of legal reprisal, employers are extremely reluctant to divulge anything beyond basic information.

So, following days of phone tag, the results are often just the facts – a candidate's employment dates, job title and salary.

So how are employers supposed to truly identify viable candidates?

A new technology developed by SkillSurvey® Inc. is responsible for easing the hiring process.

Instead of using reference checks as a final test of employability, companies use Pre-Hire 360®, a Web-based reference-checking system, designed to screen candidates before the first interview with a hiring manager is even arranged.

With Pre-Hire 360®, a secure online system, companies request that job candidates contact their references early in the interview process.

The candidate-supplied references receive an email directly from the candidate with a short survey and a signed waiver releasing them and their employers from any liability stemming from their disclosures.

The survey, of some 25 behavior-based questions, takes only about 10-15 minutes to complete online. References rate the candidate’s competence in the following areas: professionalism, problem solving and adaptability, interpersonal skills and personal values. Confidential comments can also be added.

Because of the legal-liability waiver and the fact that the results are aggregated, guaranteeing anonymity, references tend to provide very honest insights and candid assessments about an applicant. And, because feedback is collected from references that include an applicant’s managers, peers, direct reports, business partners and clients, a “360-degree” view of the person is created.

“The idea is to collect feedback from a number of people with different perspectives who’ve observed the candidate on the job over time,” explains SkillSurvey CEO Ray Bixler. “This provides the kind of insight that cannot be gleaned in interviews or from phone-based reference checks.”

According to Bixler, more than 500 corporations and healthcare organizations have switched from outmoded phone reference checks to the SkillSurvey method, includingCH2M HILL in construction engineering, Littelfuse in manufacturing, McDonald’s, Penn Medicine, Tufts Medical Center and Yale New Haven Health.

Bixler says his company has empirical evidence that its service improves hiring decisions by lowering turnover, improving quality-of-hire and increasing retention.

Bixler says his business has grown from 75 to the more than 500 clients


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