Employment reference checks are one of those background check anomalies. Employers trust many searches and verifications in the hands of a background screening company. Reference checks, oddly enough, are one of the least likely to be outsourced to a partner. Why might that be?
First, it’s a very personal impression. You get to speak directly with someone who has seen how your high-ranking candidate lives and works. The information from a reference check validates that they are as good in person as they are on paper.
However, whether you or your HR generalist makes the call, odds are those questions you ask are consistent. They follow a set of basic and in-depth questions that each job candidate hears. Some employers may be holding tight to the reference process. But it can be largely programmed.
Tagging in help from a background screening company makes sense. The motivation and urgency to leverage a partner may have shifted. Let’s look at employment reference checks and the timely need for you to tap out.
Get to Know Who You Might Be Adding to the Team
Those final words on most resumes: “References - Available Upon Request.” A nice-to-have offer from prospective job candidates may be less optional than they used to be.
Are you relying more on reference checks to fill gaps left by virtual hiring? You’re not alone.
According to one Chicago staffing firm, they have “never seen references emphasized more than now... Our clients are saying that they're very concerned about culture fits” in the age of virtual hiring.
The personal insights you receive from checking references are important. According to a survey by Robert Half, employers stop considering one and three candidates after they do a reference check.
Are they reliable? How do they collaborate on projects? Do they have the skills and experience you would expect? Get to know them beyond their resume. Even if you aren’t able to spend time with them.
Focus on Priorities When You’re Not “It”
You probably partner with a background screening company to save yourself some serious time, right? Verification-type background checks like job history and reference checks can take a lot of your time due to manual processing. This might take the form of multiple phone calls to reach contacts. The good news? Reference checks typically take fewer contact attempts.
However, reaching references on a time crunch can be a problem, as much as you want that information. Some hiring managers want to talk to those references to hear the story first-hand. But that story may be the same, no matter who asks the questions. When your reference inquiry form is the same every time, this can be done by your background screening partner.
What starts as a couple of calls and emails may turn into diligent calls until success. If you don’t want reminders piling up, that’s where a reliable background screening partner helps. Verified Credentials provides unlimited attempts to reach contacts for employment reference checks. There's no cap on attempts or additional fees to keep the background check in progress. It keeps going until successful, or you want to stop.
Keep Your Strategy Organized
Employment reference checks occupy a very slim wedge of background checks performed by screening partners (our data says less than 1%). But a SHRM survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 companies complete reference checks. If you are in this large majority, you may find it helpful to do reference checks on select positions only. Or have different questions depending on the role.
We’ve talked about reassessing your background check packages. There are considerations still developing. What about adding an employment reference check, either with personal or professional references? Maybe this addition isn’t for all positions. With background check packages, you can establish different product mixes. It could help you stay organized and consistent at the same time.
It's a good sign to candidates when they know you are calling references. Imagine you’re near-ready to extend that job offer. Adding a reference check might be the final confirmation that they are the right addition to your team. You can tell if a job candidate is fit for your future with less work. Verified Credentials can help you check those references. Tag us in!
Ready to pass off your reference check work? Let’s chat about how Verified Credentials can help.