Based in Denver, CoBank is one of the largest private providers of credit to the U.S. rural economy, supporting agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities in all 50 states. To help meet its goal of hiring only the best and brightest associates so it can continue to deliver its essential services to its customer-owners, CoBank has been using SkillSurvey Reference®, the digital reference-checking solution, since 2012.
Building a Team with Diverse Backgrounds and Skills
“I think it is incredible the way the system is set up, and how it’s confidential so people are able to be open and honest with their feedback about the candidate,”
A Better Way to Handle References
Before joining CoBank, Brown relied on the phone to contact references. “It takes so much time and effort to call references only to find that they aren’t as transparent with us on the phone as they could be,” she says. Now, CoBank relies on job-specific surveys for more timely and objective feedback. “We gain so much more by getting their comments and their ratings through the survey than what we could get from them on the phone.”
Reaping the Benefits of Automated Reference Checking
With its focus on delivering superior customer service, a better candidate experience is also important to CoBank. It takes candidates no more than 10 minutes to enter their reference information through the SkillSurvey portal. “I used SkillSurvey Reference when hired here at CoBank, and my user experience was smooth and straightforward,” Brown says. “My references thought it was simple to navigate as well. Plus, they didn’t have to plan for a scheduled call. Other references have also said that the questions we ask are relevant, and can be answered with ease.”
About 93 percent of references contacted by CoBank respond – 65 percent in one day or less.
“We gain so much more by getting their comments and their ratings through the survey than what we could get from them on the phone.”
“SkillSurvey can offer another data point when hiring. The comments that references make tend to give us a more in-depth view into the candidate – we understand more how they work with others, including their supervisors,”
Making Better Hiring Decisions
But the greatest asset to CoBank’s goal to hire only the best and brightest employees is the information delivered in SkillSurvey Reference reports. “There’s a lot of information you can gather from a report, and when you share that with the hiring managers, they understand from the beginning the caliber of employee we’re hiring,” says Brown.
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