Reference Checking – The Butt of the Joke

Posted on 07 Sep 2016 by Lee Seymour

When Hamish and Andy pull a stunt, you know it’s going to do two things, 1. make you laugh and 2. make you nod your head in agreement as they tackle yet another of life’s great obscurities that the average person just accepts as the norm.

Reference checking is definitely one of those things. When you take a step back and consider how it is traditionally carried out, you realise how questionable it really is – which is exactly what the comedy duo did.

If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you take three minutes and 55 seconds out of your day now to enjoy the video of the stunt…

Aside from the fact that we can all agree James is a very kind man for agreeing to lie for “Tim” having never met him, there’s a somewhat serious moral to this satirical story. This is actually happening.

Sure, we might not all be brave enough to ring up a total stranger and ask them to vouch for our kind nature, financial stability and community involvement, but many would go so far as asking friends and family with no professional connection to act as a referee, to guarantee a positive response and improve their chances of landing that dream job.

What this comes down to is the lack of security offered through a process that is reliant on a method with little to no traceability.

Traditionally the job of seeking, chasing, gathering, analysing and comparing reference details falls on the recruiter or HR manager. Not only is that time that could be better spent on more strategic, value-adding tasks but, just as we saw in the video, phone references provide little verification of who is providing the reference and how accurate the information they’re offering is.

At Xref our mission is to help and protect the ‘Graham Burns’ from ‘Kells and Co.’ of the world – ensuring they’re no longer caught out by fraudsters and making hiring decisions based on inaccurate feedback. We provide a secure cloud based reference checking system which helps protect recruiters from fraudulent referees, the potential to ask discriminatory questions, misinterpretation of information and  most importantly long and time consuming phone conversations.

Hilarious as it is, this video brings a little embarrassment to our industry, showing up a process many are still using and literally making a joke of it. We need to Hamish and Andy-proof our processes!

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