How to Scale Your Reference Checking in a Fast Growing Company


Your company is growing at an exponential rate and the future looks bright. Job positions are opening up quickly and the HR department is under increasing pressure to fill these important positions. Can your reference checking keep up with the hiring demand?

Recruiting the best talent for a fast-growing company involves many important factors, but you should not skimp on reference checks. The reference check process provides valuable feedback on how well-suited applicants are for certain positions.

So what can you do to scale your reference checking when it seems like the company is growing faster than HR can withstand?

Develop a System

A high quality reference check should be a systematic evaluation of a job applicant's past work performance. It should focus on the individual's current direct supervisor or most recent supervisor. Most importantly, all reference checks should follow a structured format.

What exactly is a structured reference check? Each reference should be asked the same questions that focus directly on job-related behaviors. Whereas applicants themselves are more likely to focus purely on the positive aspects of their past performance, gaining insights from a third-party can provide a more realistic view of the applicant's history and abilities.

In addition to being standardized, each reference check should focus on job-related behaviors and competencies. Create a set of standardized questions that you will ask each reference and then create a system for tracking and comparing each evaluation.

Automate Your Processes

Creating a structured and standardized process is a great way to scale your reference checking, but automating the process can make it even faster. Fast-growing companies need quality talent at a rapid pace, so it is essential for HR managers to recruit and hire at a swift rate.

Automated reference checking involves the candidate being in touch digitally with all references. These surveys are standardized and job specific, allowing hiring managers to quickly gather a great deal of information about job candidates in a relatively short period of time.

After the reference checks are completed, hiring managers can then look at complete reports that provide information on each candidate as well as compare candidates based upon a number of different factors. Such tools allow managers to more easily determine which candidates might be best-suited to particular positions.

Act on the Insights You Gain

Once you have completed a round of reference checks, it is time to make hiring decisions based upon the insights you have gained throughout the hiring process. Reference results should be compared with interview observations to identify the strongest possible candidates or used to reinforce the interview.

By using structured and automated reference checks, you can also take a closer look at specific competencies for each candidate. For certain positions, particularly those that require particular skillsets, looking at information about capabilities and behaviors can be valuable. In many cases, possessing these abilities makes applicants much more likely to succeed in the job, and these are the exact kind of candidates in which your company wants to make a long-term investment.

Reference checking takes time, but there are certainly things that you can do to make the process more scalable for your company. Designing a structured and standardized process can certainly help, but many fast-growing companies might want to consider automating their reference checking to obtain faster and higher quality hires.

What strategies do you rely on to scale your reference checking?

About The Author

Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog.