Checking Employment References Is Critical for Remote Work
If you thought reference checking was important before COVID-19 then you'll get to see how crucial reference checks are now. The pandemic has transformed the hiring process forcing recruiters to adapt to a remote working environment. Interviews over Zoom or other video chats have become increasingly common. In most cases, you don't get to meet the candidate in person and you’ve got to be able to trust the person you hire more so as they will be working in a remote environment.
In the current remote working environment where supervision over a role is minimum and hard to monitor; it would be helpful to be aware of areas where trusting a new hire can have direct consequences to your company:
- Protecting company sensitive information: New employees have access to confidential and company sensitive information. In a normal office environment, staff can be monitored via technology, but not so in remote working conditions. Implications of misuse can be damaging. Hiring companies need to ensure that employees can be trusted with tasks, information and systems.
- An employee represents your brand: You want to get the right person onboard especially if you’re hiring for a customer-facing role. For companies where people are key to making the customer experience a success, hiring the right candidate is critical.
- Productivity challenges: Remote working conditions reduce the ability to supervise. Candidates should be able to live up to the expectations and demands of the role.
“Organisations are adopting new ways to manage their business functions remotely. There is a tremendous responsibility on the hiring company now more than before to hire the right candidate. In remote working environments, people need to be far more diligent in checking who they hire.” Lee-Martin Seymour, CEO at Xref
Due diligence through online reference checking can help reduce the risk of hiring the wrong candidate. Online reference checking reveals the previous employment history and the candidates' suitability for a role. It can additionally reveal strengths and areas of improvement of a new employee that could help you plan better for onboarding.
Our experience and research in building questionnaires suggest that you should have a mix of questions that capture essential, personal and role-specific answers. If you’re interested you could read our blog on creating a well designed reference checking questionnaire. Feel free to explore our template builder too.
As you continue to explore the benefits of online reference checking when hiring remote staff, here are some reasons to include an online reference checking solution to your recruitment process:
- Helps you gain a level of trust: A remote working environment requires you to trust a candidate with sensitive information and systems. Online reference checking can reveal a candidates ability to manage processes and information through firsthand information shared by former supervisors and colleagues.
- Helps predict a candidates performance: Past performance is a strong indicator of future performance and can reveal an individual's professionalism and productivity. A reference check can be a good indicator to distinguish between a true performer or a mere poser.
- Provides accurate data: A reference check helps you verify if the information provided on the resume matches the person who applied for the role.
- Flexibility to hire gig workers and overseas staff: With the economy and businesses holding on tighter to their wallets, chances are that more workers will be hired for short term roles and possibly overseas till the economy bounces back. Online reference checking adds a layer of assurance and trust on new hires. Read what some of our customers have to say about hiring talent from overseas.
- Fraud detection: A good online reference checking system can detect suspicious activity and flag any fraudulent movements. You will get notified for unusual activities such as two people accessing the questionnaire from the same IP address etc. In certain cases, this may not be the reason to disqualify the candidate but it can certainly assure you about the accuracy of feedback that you will receive. See Avoiding Bad Hires with Xref Fraud Detection.
COVID-19 will continue to push employers to test the boundaries of remote working. Hiring managers need to take an honest look at who they’re hiring. Reference checking not only gives a thumbs up or thumbs down vote from a previous employer or colleague, but it also helps a future employer learn more about a candidate's strength and the areas that require improvement to best support them once they are on the job.
If you’re not currently using an online reference checking tool, it is a good time to consider how automating this process can help you speed up your recruitment process. Happy Hiring!