For decades, recruiters and hiring managers attempted to gather insights on candidates by calling references. But this practice is becoming extinct for a variety of reasons. In a recent article on HROToday, SkillSurvey president and CEO, Ray Bixler, gave his thoughts on the decline of one of HR’s greatest hiring tools and how new technology such as SkillSurvey is reinventing the reference check.

  • References rarely provide any meaningful feedback.
    A few years ago, a SHRM study confirmed that because most organizations and individuals don’t want to be held liable for saying anything defamatory, they say nothing at all aside from verifying dates of employment.
  • The process is extremely inefficient. 
    “You’re it” telephone tag can take weeks to complete.
  • The method is scientifically flawed.
    The data collection process is not standardized and produces inconsistent results, even when the references actually respond.

Reinventing References.

Organizations now have to the option to assess candidates’ past performance from references in a way that overcomes the legal, logistical, and scientific shortcomings of dealing with references by phone. Web-based pre-hire performance assessments can be initiated in minutes and completed in less than two days. Research has shown that well-designed pre-hire assessments that gather and manage multi-rater feedback electronically deliver an 85 percent response rate while also mitigating legal risk inherent in phone-based referencing.

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