Candidate reference checks are a critical part of the hiring process, which is why it’s one of the standard practices that recruiters use to evaluate the quality of each candidate. A SkillSurvey study reports that 86% of reference checks happen before a company extends an offer of employment.
There are growing concerns over the quality of candidates, however, including worries over candidates fabricating or stretching the truth on resumes. References are being checked on a deeper level to avoid future trouble. It may be an extra step and cost, but for most organizations it’s better to know upfront what they may be getting into with a candidate.
An expert perspective on candidate reference checks
HR Dive talked with Ray Bixler, President and CEO of SkillSurvey, about the reasons why companies are increasingly concerned about the quality of hire – and how this is impacting the use of reference checking services like his company offers. “Ultimately, making good hiring decisions can make or break the success of an organization or teams within an organization," he said. "Successful new hires are true assets for a company, and they help improve everything from client relations and sales performance, to company morale and its bottom line."
Bixler also mentioned that bad hiring decisions can be very costly for companies, even beyond turnover costs. Bad fitting employees can have a negative impact on the company — everything from lowering morale and client loyalty to destroying the company brand. Another concern that's prompting more companies to conduct deeper reference checks is that the morale and ethics of a candidate in reference to internal and external relationships can impact the way candidates handle data.
Too many employers having bad experiences
As the saying goes, "One bad apple spoils the barrel." This is true in recruitment too, because a candidate who lies or elaborates on a resume only serves to jade the future hiring beliefs of recruiters. The risk is too great of a bad hire. And it’s costly. Robert Half points out that the cost of even one bad hire can be devastating. Their research revealed that 62% of small business owners have made a bad hire, and that this costs around 50 hours of productive time.
Protecting the most vulnerable consumers
In the SkillSurvey report, the top two industries requesting the additional screening happen to be in long-term care and higher education. We asked Bixler if the screens are related to growing concerns over the safety of our most vulnerable members of society- the elderly and children.
"Obviously, when it comes to healthcare and long-term care, improper care delivered by an employee can have grave repercussions," he said. "Increasingly, the healthcare field is also being measured not just on the services provided, but how patients feel about it." Bixler added that the higher education field is concerned with the impact on students, especially the safety of students.
All industries must be mindful of going deeper into the backgrounds of candidates, even if they appear to be perfect on the surface.