The pressure on HR and Recruiters to source talent quickly is unrelenting and according to a recent survey by the REC it is reference checking that is the casualty.
The problems that may be caused by missing out this essential part of the hiring process could be hazardous in terms of the costs to your business when your new hire proves not to be the great find you thought they were!
The survey reveals that 23% of candidates are not asked for character or employment references and of that number nearly 1 in 4 were not pursued by prospective employers. ** On the candidate side 45% admitted to providing false information and specifically exaggerating their experience and qualifications and thus taking advantage of the gaps in the hiring process. **
It is acknowledged that there are difficulties in referencing on both sides of the hiring process. A recent tribunal highlighted this when it ruled in favour of a candidate over a reference which resulted in their job offer being withdrawn, the reference was deemed to be discriminatory. These type of rulings mean that many employers will only give dates of employment and the position held, which are sparse details but still vital in building up a picture of the potential candidate.
Employers are also turning to less formal referencing by looking at social media profiles to assess suitability, the CIPD reports that 1 in 5 employers reject potential candidates based on their online profile.* However, experts consider this to be an ineffective part of the pre-screening process and could again lead to discriminatory practice. Larger companies are using software with automated pre-hire screening which limits the risks of bias and ensures that the reference is carried out based on appropriate criteria.
Paul Simpson, Sales Director at FPR Group comments, “good effective telephone screening and first interviews to ensure all gaps are accounted for go some way to protecting yourself as does thoroughly exploring with candidates why they have left previous jobs. Indeed, this can help you build up a valuable insight in to what motivates a person and facilitates a judgement on whether the opportunity is right for them and if they are likely to develop and stay with you. With the candidate market being so competitive at the moment due to the high employment rate, many companies are not taking references up until people have started, this is high risk and can cause you a lot of pain because even the most solid looking CV may hide something you need to know.”