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Earlier this year, market leader, Xref, again ranked number one in the reference checking software category by G2. Xref is proud to lead reference checking in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s HR professionals and recruiters have been a key focus and priority for Xref, since being founded in 2010. Since that time, the work environment itself has also changed significantly.
Many New Zealand businesses are functioning on a remote or hybrid work model. We have a dedicated team working locally from New Zealand who understands the unique nature of work in NZ and is available in your timezone to answer any questions.
As leaders in the industry, we serve organisations in a range of industries including healthcare, government, logistics and construction. We onboarded our first New Zealand-based client in 2014.
Marley Monk, Xref’s New Zealand Country Manager, shares many stories around how she has seen the New Zealand employment market change over the last few years. In particular, the last two years have seen significant, but not unexpected, changes. Lockdowns, limited migration and the slow return to the office environment have all impacted hiring.
Nowadays, however, hiring is growing again in New Zealand. Marley’s experiences are supported by a recent report released by Seek in July showed that for the month of June 2022, job ads remain 9% higher compared to the same time last year and 35% higher than June 2019.
Currently, in New Zealand, the largest hiring industries include Information and Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing, transport and logistics, and trades and services.
The report also found that applications for jobs are also on the rise, highlighting the importance of fast but effective hiring processes to save time, remain compliant and hire the best talent. Automated reference surveys can help.
Automated, or online reference surveys change the process of reference checking as it allows employers and hiring managers to contact their candidate’s referees quickly and efficiently, without the need to schedule a phone call or chase up responses over email.
When conducting industry research prior to launching Xref, our leaders found that NZ HR professionals and talent acquisition specialists wanted to make reference checking more efficient. As a niche, HR-focused solution, NZ organisations are able to use Xref to move their reference checking from a lengthy manual process to an automated solution with results in hours as opposed to days.
With Xref, recruiters or HR professionals can create customised surveys, or use a template of HR-approved questions to understand core competencies. These surveys can then be sent individually or in bulk, if mass recruitment is needed.
Once returned, an organisation will receive a reference report on each candidate with analytics and data-driven insights about that candidate to help take the ‘gut feel’ out of reference checking.
Reference checking software has revolutionised the final stages of hiring a candidate. Xref customer SkyCity explains the value well.
“We have to get [hiring] right – our employees are our front line, and the way they interact with our customers on a daily basis is critical to the success of our business.
It’s the final stages of the [hiring] process that can take an inordinate amount of our recruitment team’s valuable time. Previously, our recruiters were conducting at least two verbal reference checks for every position, but because of this time-consuming method, it became an administrative exercise to reduce risk, rather than a genuine value-add for our business.
Our primary motivator for partnering with Xref was to create efficiencies so our recruitment team could focus on other stages of the recruitment process. It was Xref’s ease-of-use factor that got us over the line, as we felt confident in the platform we could use on a regular basis.”
As SkyCity explains, reference checking software has shifted New Zealand HR professionals away from traditional methods of referencing because it gives them the opportunity to secure references without the back and forth of having to chase to organise a phone call. They can devote time to recruiting for other open roles.
“We've got the talent shortage market, that means your hiring process also has to be efficient. It can't be too arduous and it can't be too much,” explains Marley. Here she’s touching on the fine balance NZ organisations must have between fulfilling compliance obligations, yet also moving candidates through the hiring funnel quickly.
The best talent is hired fast and time to hire is still an important Key Performance Indicator for many recruiters and talent acquisition specialists.
With a Net Promotor Score of 81, Xref can help speed up the recruitment process. Using Xref, an organisation can raise a reference request in as little as 30 seconds and see results on average in 18 hours. 96% of users say Xref is easy to do business with and 95% say the product is easy to use.
Nowadays, many New Zealand organisations are recruiting people they have never met before. The traditional interview process has gone out the window and new challenges emerge in terms of not only knowing that your candidate can do the job, but is the person you met who they say they are? Are their professional references legitimate? Remote hiring and remote work have raised many red flags that can be explored and solved with Xref.
Automating the reference checking process through Xref is an easy way to ensure peace of mind that your candidate is who they say they are.
In the last twelve months, Xref has detected almost 16,000 instances of unusual activity, from references across the globe, potentially indicating that an employer needs to look further into the information provided to determine the legitimacy of the reference given. For example, if a candidate and referee have the same IP address, there may be questions of the legitimacy of either the referee or reference.
Xref’s suspicious activity detection feature notifies employers of potential suspicious behaviour like this, and the organisations can choose to investigate further with an end result of helping employers hire the right candidate with confidence.
Automated references also help reduce unconscious bias in hiring. Unconscious bias “is a learned assumption, belief, or attitude that exists in the subconscious.” Everyone has these biases however, they can have a big influence on our beliefs and behaviours. If they are allowed to impact our professional lives, they can affect the way we hire, interact with colleagues, and make business decisions.
The vast array of reference questions available for our reference surveys can help remove the unconscious bias from the questions we ask by providing options and sample questions for a hiring manager to determine if their candidate is suitable.
This is another important reason why many HR professionals are shifting away from traditional reference checks. With essential, personal attributes or role-specific questions, HR professionals can tailor the Xref reference questionnaire to any role.
WPP AUNZ, an Xref customer, shared a story with us about the importance of reference checking and the potential impact to a business if a reference check isn’t conducted.
“There have been some cases of potential fraud detected since we started using Xref. Often you will have a gut feeling about a person and then a fraud flag will show up on Xref and confirm your concerns. Xref offers us the evidence we need to feel confident about the decisions we make.
Our industry typically has quite an informal referencing culture, because everyone is so well connected. When you think about issues such as diversity and discrimination, that informal approach isn’t ideal. The fact that we’ve been able to tailor our questions to be relevant to us, our industry and what we need, has helped make sure we’re bringing the right people on board.”
Automated reference checking comes with plenty of benefits from the time it saves, to better insights. When referees use Xref, they can complete a reference check in their own time.
Marley speaks to many of our clients daily. She has had some clients report more substantial feedback is given by referees, compared to over the phone.
“We find approximately triple the amount of time is spent producing feedback. As a result, we end up with about 60% more insights.”
Another standout of online references with Xref is the robustness of the system and the validity behind online reference checking.
Being online, one of the main concerns of customers is how we protect information. Xref uses 2-factor authentication to protect all information within the system. Only the organisation that has requested the reference will be able to see a candidate’s and referee's details. Our advanced password and security policy allows organisations to customise who has access to their accounts and who can access the reference checking information and receive reports. Xref allows account administrators to monitor every action taken by users on their account.
Xref is also ISO 27001 certified and built using the highest standard of security and quality management practices. As a multi-country platform, we also store our data at local data centres so information is kept as per the data storage standards in that geography. While our solution is user-friendly, it also follows compliance regulations.
Xref’s NZ customer base is made up of over 200 organisations including The Interiors Group. They shared with us how they have benefited from the efficiency, customisation and support offered by Xref.
“We really benefit from being able to tailor the questionnaires dependent on the role. We also have a turnaround of about 24 hours with our references, which is a big improvement from chasing referees and re-writing phone conversations.
We also really like the alerts about potential fraud, as they give us a lot of confidence when we’re dealing with candidates that we may be a bit unsure about. It’s just that extra layer of security that gives us peace of mind.”
In addition to numerous case studies for satisfied clients across New Zealand, Xref has hundreds of G2 reviews with an average star rating of 4.7 out of 5. These reviews contribute to our #1 ranking.
G2 review by Sophie H, Lead Booking Consultant - Healthcare
“The system is super user-friendly making it easy for recruiters, candidates and referees to login and complete references quickly. As a result of the rigorous security and compliance checking on Xref (audit trail on every reference, checking IP address etc) to be a massive benefit, references you can trust to be authentic!
Using Xref's automated service reduces time spent on the phone chasing referees which ultimately results in a higher satisfaction rate from the candidate and client, enabling roles to be filled faster!”
In the most recent G2 summer results, Xref ranked #1 global reference checking company receiving the highest satisfaction score amongst products in the Reference Check category. 99% of users rated it 4 or 5 stars and 93% of users said they would be likely to recommend Xref.
As a reference checking leader in New Zealand, Xref is broadening the scope of available automated solutions to support local NZ businesses further by automating their HR processes.
These solutions that cater to all pillars of the employee journey will allow organisations to not only understand the strengths and weaknesses of candidates coming into the business, but help uncover any feedback they have as they progress throughout their career and eventually depart your organisation. These are known as Pulse and Exit Surveys and they both serve the purpose of helping that organisation to grow and improve themselves for future talent.
If you’re an Xref customer looking to gain tailored reference checking insights for your New Zealand business, speak to our NZ team today.