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“Hard work always pays off” is one of those well-meaning sayings we all heard growing up. What if it doesn’t have to be that hard for it to still pay off? Or better yet, someone or something takes care of some of the work for you?

For example, take reference checking. It’s a crucial part of your recruiting tasks —you need validation of a candidate’s past performance before your company can consider hiring him or her. Yet, traditional reference checking is often fraught with delays, phone tag and not so valuable insights for your time. But there are some tips (check out our interactive guide) that can make it more efficient and more useful in your hiring process.

For example, using a consistent process and structure (think structured interviews) will yield richer, more uniform data that you can provide in a report to help hiring managers make better decisions. Coming up with a way to gauge candidates’ soft skills (works well with others, gives constructive feedback, solves problems effectively) as well as validating their technical skills will help you identify the best fit candidates who will be less likely to turnover.

We’ve created an infographic of the top 15 reference-checking best practices to help you collect the best information to make the right hiring decision. But we wanted to let you know there’s an easy way to have SkillSurvey Reference take care of each step automatically. Check out a few below:

1. One is not enough. Get multiple perspectives… try to reach at least 3 references to get the full picture. You increase your chances of getting more references when you make it as easy as possible for them to respond, for example, SkillSurvey ReferenceTM, allows references to fill out surveys online – 24/7 and from any device. Users have found that they typically hear from four or more references (85% of references complete the survey and offer candid feedback).

2. Have structure. Ask each reference the same questions, and ask the same questions across candidates so you have feedback that you can compare. Once all references have responded, SkillSurvey Reference can instantly compile the feedback into a data-driven report which you can share with your hiring managers to help them make more informed decisions.

3. Focus on soft skills. Maybe your candidate has all the required skills and an enviable background. But it’s their interpersonal skills, problem-solving and professionalism that will make or break their success. SkillSurvey Reference, gives you access to hundreds of job-specific surveys. The questions are developed by our team of industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists, and are designed to give you validated feedback on the behaviors or soft skills that correlate with job success.

4. Leave your sourcing hat on! While you’re reaching out to references, find out if they’re interested in joining your talent pool. With SkillSurvey SourceTM, references and referrals, long considered a great source of candidates, can join your talent community. The software helps you keep track of job-specific pipelines, and sends alerts when new candidates might be a good fit for job openings. About 30% of references opt in to become candidates with SkillSurvey Source.

5. Keep it legal. With scientifically designed surveys, SkillSurvey Reference is free of bias against all protected classes of candidates and you can share structured interview guides with your teams to keep their interviews compliant as well.

Do you want to speed up and improve the quality of your reference checking processes? User-friendly, online software like SkillSurvey Reference enables companies and organizations to complete their referencing an average 92% faster than manual methods. A full picture of candidates’ soft skills and predictive data will also help you reduce turnover (our studies of over 49,000 new hires have validated that candidates hired through the Pre-Hire 360 workflow in SkillSurvey Reference helped organizations reduce first-year turnover for cause by 35.5%.). Download SkillSurvey’s infographic, 15 Must-Know Reference-Checking Tips for Modern Recruiters, to get the full scoop on reference-checking best practices and start your journey to better hiring!

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