Bringing Pleasure to the Pain Point of the HR Industry

Posted on 01 Aug 2016 by Laura Johnson

When was the last time you changed jobs? When was the last time you hired someone? Was there any part of the reference-checking process that you found satisfactory? We bet that it was probably difficult, time-consuming, and ultimately of little value. In fact, we’ve bet our entire business on that.

The war for talent is more competitive than ever. However, many recruiters are still reluctant to adapt to the new habits - and expectations - of today’s market, despite the advantage it would give them in attracting the best people.

The practice of employing staff to manually collect candidate references must be consigned to history. It has created a battlefield fraught with risk, shadowed by unnecessary expense and littered with human error. HR leaders and recruiters are beginning to question how and when their industry will catch up.

Six years ago, Xref CEO and co-founder Lee-Martin Seymour realised he was one of these people. He was surrounded by old world HR & Recruitment traditions, despite the solutions that new technologies could offer.

Now Xref, which Lee-Martin co-founded alongside IT expert Tim Griffiths, offers HR leaders and recruiters an elegant, automated and cloud-based solution that brings them into the 21st century, protects them from the inherent risks of manual phone-based reference checking and saves them time and money in the process. Xref also delights candidates as they engage with a hiring company for the first time.

Why check references?

While high-profile cases of falsified CVs and illegitimate references from senior executives fill the media for short bursts of time, the issue that sits behind the headline-grabbing stories is an ongoing threat to all organisations, at all levels.

Understanding the people that you are bringing into a business is key to ongoing success. Ensuring that the feedback you’re getting about them is genuine and can provide useful insight into their professional history, is even more critical.

By providing a platform built on automation and data management, Xref not only saves recruiters time and money but also applies algorithms that flag fraudulent activity by candidates and ensure organisations comply with necessary data privacy regulations.

Xref turns a “necessary evil” into an intelligent, secure and insightful solution.

The value of automation

With a background in HR and Recruitment technology, we have been able to streamline a business process that relies on information sharing through automation, and have created space for HR and recruitment professionals to step out of a commodity aspect of their role, and focus on adding strategic value.

The ease and convenience of the process ensures 98 percent of all reference requests with Xref are completed and, as a result, we receive and share 60 percent more data with recruiters than was previously available via phone-based methods. This makes for better-informed and more strategic hiring decisions, and allows recruiters to utilise the system as a performance management tool.

Great decisions are born from great insights.  Xref helps recruiters and hiring managers hire better talent, more often.

Xref process

Like most HR and recruitment professionals, we know process matters. And while we seek to maximise our clients’ time by decreasing the burden of critical processes, we haven’t missed a beat in how we fit seamlessly into the hiring period.

Here’s a quick summary of exactly how it works:

  • Step one: The employer requests an Xref by providing a candidate’s email address.
  • Step Two: Before they know it, their candidates have been sent an email requesting their referees’ names, relationships and email addresses. Now, the responsibility for ensuring timely responses sits with the candidate. 
  • Step Three: The referee is sent a questionnaire to provide their feedback online. This gives them total control over when and where they complete the reference (in fact, 45 percent of references are completed outside business hours, and 30 percent of them on a mobile device). 
  • Step Four: The final step of a simple puzzle. The employer is then sent an email letting them know that their candidate’s references have been received. At this stage the employer will also receive a report with a full analysis of references provided. 

We believe that the more we can simplify a critical process for an already-challenging industry, the better.

Our experience in the industry means we understand the pressures on HR professionals, and that is reflected in everything we do. While we’re constantly using data to benchmark clients’ results, we don’t offer a “one-size-fits-all” approach because we believe each company should be treated as equally as each candidate.

To see Xref in action for yourself contact us at

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