HR departments are downsizing, according to a recent article in Human Resource Executive, even as hiring is on the uptick. Just last week, the Labor Department released figures showing that companies hired 248,000 people in September, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent.

All this means that HR departments are going to have to do more with less. Anything that can make the hiring process more efficient is only going to become more important over time.

Streamlining the reference-checking process – and making it more effective and informative – can be a big step in the right direction. SkillSurvey’s Pre-Hire 360® does just that, by helping hiring managers get detailed, specific, actionable information from candidates’ references via an online system.

By using this sort of technology, hiring managers can drastically cut the amount of time they spend on collecting reference feedback. Gone are the days of playing phone tag with references only to get a terse confirmation of the candidate’s title and salary and little else. SkillSurvey’s clients generally get feedback from about five references in less than two days – with no time spent collecting it.

How else does better reference checking allow HR departments to do more with less? Well, it’s not just about the time saved collecting reference feedback, it’s also about hiring more successfully overall.

The more “great fits” you hire, the less time you spend looking for replacements for candidates who didn’t work out. The data bears this out and our clients see big reductions in turnover for cause.

Improved reference-checking doesn’t only save time and headaches – it also saves money for HR departments. One study, by Leadership IQ, found that 46 percent of new hires fail within the first 18 months on the job. Estimates vary, but the total cost of replacing an employee is generally one to five times that person’s salary. Just do the math, and you’ll see that hiring people who are better fits within your organization can be a big money saver. One of our big technology company clients has saved $3.9 million by avoiding bad hires. An engineering and construction client has saved a total of $14 million over five years. These are big savings.

Time and cash-strapped hiring managers need all the help they can get. Harnessing the power of technology – especially better reference-checking – can help identify better candidates while spending less time on low-value work like chasing down references via the phone. What hiring manager wouldn’t want to save time and money while making better hires?

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