Hiring Remote Employees: Why Reference Checking is more Important Than Ever


The world’s industries are currently operating under unprecedented circumstances. With only essential workforces traveling to physical job sites, and others who can work from home being required to shelter-in-place during the current COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting and hiring practices must be adapted to reflect both the urgency and the limitations of the present time.

It can be tempting to forego standard hiring protocol - especially if you are an essential organization employing rapid onboarding practices to shore up your personnel numbers to meet the needs of the public. But it is crucial that organizations hold their employees to a higher standard than ever before. A comprehensive reference check is the simplest way to ensure that you are making the right hiring decisions - recruiting people who will help your company succeed during this uncertain moment in global history. 

Why Reference Checking is More Important Than Ever

The world just keeps on turning. Businesses continue to operate and grow, and are now getting used to the idea of hiring remote employees to supplement their workforce. The same best-practices for hiring under normal conditions are now critical to the health of any given company. 

In addition to the new majority work-from-home standard, there is currently a surplus of job seekers on the market, due to the high volume of layoffs and closures necessitated by quarantine procedures. Mediocre or problematic applicants will be sending in their resumes at the same rate as top talent, and a reference check can mean the difference between onboarding a quality candidate versus a bad seed. 

The interview process has become even more nuanced and complicated by the inherent inability to meet your candidates face-to-face. Body language, eye contact,, personal grooming, and other intangible qualities which, in the past, have been insightful indications of character, are no longer accessible as means of evaluation for your interviewee. This problem, however, can be mitigated through a quality reference check with your candidate’s previous manager or coworkers: gleaning all-important information such as emotional intelligence, cultural fit, quality of job performance, teamwork mentality, personal motivation, etcetera will help you make the correct hiring decisions.

One study by Office Team purports that following a reference check, hiring managers remove around 20% of candidates from consideration, significantly narrowing your pool of potential hires, and guaranteeing a higher caliber of recruit. 

As we all know, hiring the wrong employee is bad for business. The price tag of hastily-made hiring decisions far outweighs the cost of a single employee’s salary: in some cases by as much as 200%. And a remote workforce means that the time it takes to notice and address problematic behavior or lackluster work habits in a new employee is much longer than it might have been in a physical job setting. 

We’ll say it again: making the right hire on the first try is more important now than ever before, and a reference check will enable you to do so.

Checking your candidate’s references can help you:

  • Verify information provided by the candidate, such as employment history, duties performed, and technical skills listed.
  • Elaborate upon information provided by the candidate, such as details of duties performed, technical skills and knowledge, job competence, and ability to cooperate with other employees and work as part of a team.
  • Evaluate the candidate’s potential for success and growth as a part of your company.
  • Determine whether the candidate will be a cultural and philosophical fit at your company. 
  • Protect your organization from negligent hiring claims.
  • Rank your candidate pool and make top-quality selections. 
  • Determine integrity.

Digital Reference Checking for Remote Employees

To make the task of discerning top talent from your pool of potentials as simple and streamlined as possible, Checkster offers a fully-automated reference check solution for a streamlined experience. 

Automated reference check tools such as Reference Insights provide a myriad of benefits over manual calling, including:

  • Increased efficiency
    These days companies are having to do more, with less. Less money, less time. Checking a reference digitally takes a recruiter about 2 minutes of set up, saving over an hour per candidate.
  • 100% compliance
    Organizations easily remain compliant with the documented consistency of automated reference checks. 
  • Automatic fraud alerts
    Clients are seeing an increase in candidates providing fake references in the recent months. Checkster has a 12-step alert system that immediately notifies you if a reference response is flagged.
  • Improved quality of responses
    Checkster’s digital checks provide detailed feedback from references including ranking statistics, all organized in easy-to-read dashboards.
  • More responses
    Checkster clients get an average of 6 reference responses per candidate, providing a great wealth of information.

Hiring Remote Employees: The New Normal

Between physical distancing mandates and new remote employment policies, responses to COVID-19 are having major effects on the way we work. And the resultant changes are having remarkable and unexpected impacts which range from the personal to the global collective: 

  • Without the stress of a daily commute, those who are able to work from home are happier and more productive during their work day. 
  • Employees with disabilities, previously unable to work from home due to presumptive company policies are able to join now-standard remote workforces.
  • Major companies that have closed their office buildings have decreased overhead costs for physical infrastructure, and thus a higher profit margin. 
  • Due to limited travel, air pollution has decreased drastically, resulting in clearer skies in some of the most polluted cities on earth, and a projected increase in the respiratory health of the general population. 
  • Kids seeing their parents more often, fewer traffic accidents.

These unprecedented circumstances are demonstrating what positive changes we can make to the way a variety of industries are run, and how the effects of these changes may be felt around the world, and for the collective good. These changes beg the question: will we ever go back?

A remote workforce may be the new normal, necessitating the permanence or long-term integration of changes currently being implemented in recruiting and hiring practices. And a quality reference check remains a vital piece of the puzzle. 

Final Thoughts: Why Reference Checking is More Important Than Ever

The world is changing, and so is the way we do business. With a majority of the workforce sheltering in place and working from home, recruiting and hiring practices need to adapt. But reference checking, the all-important operation used to gain critical insight on employees both at-home and in essential workspaces, has become an even more  critical element to hiring for success.