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Why Employment Verification and Reference Checking Go Hand in Hand



Trust and Transparency are Essential in the Workplace

In the present workplace environment, trust and transparency are absolutely essential. You shouldn’t rely on a ‘gut feeling’ or trust a candidate simply based on what they have said during their interview. Especially now that you’re likely assessing them from a distance, you need to be sure that you can verify their history and skills. Further to verifying the facts, it can be very insightful to find out more by asking the right questions and getting to know your candidate better through the eyes of their previous employer. That way, you can have more confidence that they are the right fit for your team without ever having met them in person.

In the past, we have undertaken research that reveals there is an astonishing amount of candidates who are prepared to lie to HR managers to get a role. It’s scary to think that you could be trusting someone with sensitive company information or with a task that requires a certified skill, who doesn’t really have the experience that they say they do. You don’t need to dig too deep to hear all kinds of horror stories about people practicing medicine without a medical degree…

That being said, it is important to build trust right from the get go and the best way to do that is to verify that you’re hiring someone who is who they say they are and who has the experience that they have told you they have. This can be done effectively by combining two important practices: employment verification and reference checks. A great recruitment process needs both!


What is Employment Verification?

Within the hiring process, employment verification is a chance to check for any inconsistencies that might raise concerns about the information provided by the candidate. Usually an employment verification would be used to cross reference details that could be found on a resume such as job titles, time with a company, qualifications etc.

There are many different points that can be verified to make sure that the candidate has provided truthful information, including:

  • That they are who they say that they are
  • That they have working rights in the country 
  • The Job titles that they stated within their previous roles
  • When they started and finished working for an organisation
  • If they were actually employees at the companies they claimed to have worked for
  • They they actually have the qualifications listed on their resume

Employment verification is a factor within the hiring process that is often overlooked or left out altogether as it can be easy to assume that the candidate is honest and telling the truth on their resume. 


What is Reference Checking?

 A reference check is a valuable opportunity to learn about your candidate from the perspective of their previous manager or colleagues. This insight can help you gain a deeper understanding of who the candidate really is and how they actually applied or learnt the skills they have in their previous role. A good reference check seeks to capture insights about the candidate’s reliability, communication, ability to collaborate and how they work as part of a team among other aspects depending on the role. Learning this information can be helpful for a manager to understand how this person will fit into their team and if they have what it takes to succeed in the role and manage the tasks that will be required of them.

There are many different points that can be gathered from a reference check. Here are some important ones to give you a place to start:

  • That they actually have the skills they claim 
  • That they actually worked on the projects that they said they did
  • What their strengths and areas of opportunities are
  • How they work with other team members
  • What they are like to be managed
  • What their ‘soft skills’ are and how they typically use them
  • How they communicate and listen


Why Should Organisations Verify and Reference Check their Candidates? 

It is easy to imagine why someone might want to lie about their work history to get a step up on the competition. However, it can have massive repercussions, especially when it comes to hiring executive management who could do a lot of damage if they do not have the skills or experience needed to support the organisation.

 Knowing that the person that you are hiring has the skills and competencies that they claim to have allows you to make more informed decisions about how the candidate will proceed in the role. Knowing important factors about prior work experience can also help managers prepare for managing this person in their team while playing to their strengths. It also builds trust which can be especially important when the new employee will be trained to handle sensitive company information or work in situations that require little or no supervision.

Now that COVID-19 has changed the way we hire, many companies are embracing remote hiring practices which is another important reason to verify the identity of the person and that they actually do have a right to be working in the country. 


Is this Important for Every Role?

From blue collar staff to executive hires, reference checking and verification is important for all different kinds of roles for many reasons.

It is important to consider what you’re hoping to learn at this stage of the recruitment process and tailor your questions to match the role or level. In this way, referencing is a great way to get feedback and perspective for any role at any level. You might also like to consider what kind of references you collect. For example, for a managerial role you might like to also ask for a reference from someone that person has managed in the past. You then can find out if that employee felt supported and motivated by that person as their direct report. 

We have put together a great resource with everything you need to know about hiring for a range of different roles using online referencing. Download your free copy here.

Tailor your questions to match the role or level

A simpler way to verify candidates 

There are many methods that employers can use to verify candidates including more manual methods such as calling previous employers individually or sending them an employment verification letter. However, times are changing and more options are available than ever before! 

The simplest, most time efficient way to gather all this important information about a candidate is to conduct online reference checks

Online reference checking offers an easy and time efficient method of collecting references that gather basic verification along with an indepth look at the candidate through the eyes of their previous employers. The answers provided are not just notes or a rough summary of the referee’s thoughts but a detailed description written in the words of the referee themselves. 

With the advancement of HR tech and the tools and resources that are readily available, you are able to step away from the manual, more standardised way of verifying and referencing and create streamlined, tailored and effective referencing processes with role specific questions by using a template builder. You can also save yourself and your teams precious and valuable time in the process! 

To find out how your teams can benefit from the time saved through online reference checking contact us to book a free demo.

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