SmartRecruiters Blog

How Smart People Reference Check

For most, reference checking is little more than a mundane, time-consuming process that supplies only half-truths and misappropriated information about candidates. That’s likely the reason that many business owners ignore it completely! However, when done correctly, reference checks actually provide hiring managers with a wealth of accurate information about candidates – quickly uncovering high-potential diamonds in the rough and filtering out narcissistic embellishers.

In order to facilitate a candidate-friendly 2-week hiring process, without compromising the quality of results, automated reference checking is a must! For small to mid-size businesses in which each and every hire makes a big impact, it just makes sense – which is why SmartRecruiters has teamed up with to offer automated reference checking for every candidate that enters your pipeline.


Why Reference Checks Matter

Without reference checks as part of the hiring process, hiring managers may be able to determine if a candidate can do the job, but they’re left in the dark as to whether or not the candidate actually has done the job in the past. If previous employers learned the hard way about a candidate’s poor performance, find out about their experience, take advantage of it and refuse to repeat history!

Unfortunately, traditional hiring methods interject a lot of subjectivity – like plain old gut instinct – into the process. While our perception of a candidate does have its role in hiring, it can’t be the total basis of a hiring decision. In addition to leading to compliance issues, reliance on gut instinct often leads to the hiring of false positives, or those candidates who are able to charm and embellish their way into a position only to later show their true colors as poor performers.

Automated reference checks solve this issue, offering an additional data point to the hiring decision; one that is based on I/O Psychology and sound science practices.  Naturally, the more data points gathered for a candidate, the more sound our performance predictions are. Consequently, we can improve the quality of our hires.

However, automated reference checking not only provides more data to determine the best drivers of business, but does so with less effort and in less time than traditional reference checking! All it takes is the click of a button and the system takes over, contacting the references with a digital questionnaire and instantly generating comprehensive results for the hiring manager. This allows for decision makers to rely on consistent, relevant information which facilitates a positive collaboration experience and optimal hiring results.



When To Reference Check

 Now that you’re determined to become a smarter recruiter by reference checking, the key question becomes when to reference check.  Should every candidate go through the process?

Chequed SmartRecruiters

The reality is that reference checking can be done at any point in the hiring process. At the front end, it can be used to quickly weed out candidates who won’t be able to produce. Doing so will whittle down the large initial applicant pool quickly to a few, strong candidates, further reducing time and inserting a job-relevant metric at the very early stage.  As the diagram below shows, as many as 20 percent of finalists will receive reference checking scores that will essentially disqualify them for the position. Why not find out who those candidates are at the earliest possible point?

That said, the costs associated with leveraging reference checks on the front end may be prohibitive for some business owners. If this is the case, hiring managers can weed through candidates manually on the front end to determine if they can do the job and rely on reference checking to distinguish only between final candidates.

Either option is perfectly acceptable and is typically determined by the hiring company’s individual preference and available resources. That said, reference checking finalists is strongly recommended at a minimum. Doing so will, at best, distinguish between finalists or, at worst, prompt hiring managers to go back to the drawing board. Either way, the result is an improved hiring decision.


How ChequedReference Works’s predictive talent selection tool, ChequedReference™, is an innovative software that leverages I/O psychology through a comprehensive questionnaire. Created in partnership with University at Albany, State University of New York, each survey is tailored to specific competency criteria through job-relevant benchmarks.  What’s more, it can be fully branded for a unique experience!

While old-fashioned, phone based reference checking is often characterized by meandering conversations and an unwillingness to share much more than the HR equivalent of name, rank and serial number, automated reference checking cuts through the smoke. The nature of the questions asked, in combination with the requirement of at least 3 completed surveys to maintain reference provider anonymity, prompts references to offer candid responses.

Finally, the Chequed Quality Indicator ensures that references are who they say they are. Eliminate concerns that you’re speaking with a roommate when you expect to speak with a former supervisor! Built-in metrics generate red flags when questions are answered in a suspicious manner.

Chequed SmartRecruiters


In the end, hiring managers are provided with a succinct overview of the candidate as well as a list of relevant interview questions to help drive a structured, job-relevant interview.

Chequed Predictive Talent Selection


Get Smart Today

Reference checking doesn’t have to be a joke. If anything, it’s a generally untapped wealth of knowledge! Forgoing the traditional reference check is understandable, but with the ChequedReference™ solution, hiring managers have a fast, simple way to investigate a candidate’s history in a way that is completely relevant to the position.

Join the smart revolution and start leveraging the benefits of this filter with your next vacancy. The results are clear: better candidate information, less effort and improved hires. Just imagine the positive impacts on your business, let alone your hiring process.

George Ehinger