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How Xref makes reference checking safe and secure | Holcim

Holcim reviews Xref's automated reference checking system for conducting pre-employment reference checks.

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"Xref is the most efficient and effective way to reference check."


It takes, on average, just 19 hours to turnaround references.


44% of references are completed outside traditional business hours.


Average word count of references provided.

What drove you to switch from manual to automated reference checks?

Reference checking is a part of the hiring process that no recruiter enjoys, but it’s vital.

We are a geographically dispersed business and are proud to have a diverse team working together to achieve a common goal. We fill about 800 roles a year through external hires, with a team of four recruiting across all roles, from general managers to blue-collar staff.

Like many companies, previously we used phone-based references. We had a standard template of questions and the recruiter would have to chase the nominated referee for extended periods of time.

The people we need to speak to work different hours from other industries, so getting them on the phone could take days, weeks, sometimes up to a month. In the current market, that's far too long.

When our recruiters were able to talk to a referee, the conversation was often rushed because the person was on their way home or to a meeting. The information gathered was often brief and you could never be entirely confident that the recruiter was even speaking to the right person.

The demand for blue-collar workers is also very high and attracting that type of labour is difficult, so we have to be able to turn a good application into a placement quite quickly. And, in terms of the technical side to our business, which centres around engineering, we must make sure people have the right qualifications, the right experience, and the technical know-how for the role.

I had used Xref with a previous employer and was aware of the benefits it would offer us, so it made absolute sense to implement it here at Holcim as well.

What was your brief for Xref?

Safety is the most important aspect of our business, so we needed a solution that would identify candidates that will prioritise safety in their role.

We also needed a platform that would offer us the flexibility to reach people outside of normal office hours or in remote locations, while doing so with speed, efficiency, and a good return on investment.

What has been the outcome of using Xref?

To me, automated reference checking with Xref is the most efficient and effective way to reference check, be it from a process, speed, or security point of view.

Being able to get references done quickly, particularly in the front-line construction space, where supervisors don't carry their phones on site, adds real value to our process.

I can request an Xref in as short a time as it takes me to say "Request an Xref", 44% of our references come back outside of normal office hours, and we get reports back within, on average, 19 hours from the time the reference was requested. These statistics alone show how valuable the ease and convenience of the platform is to us.

We also find with Xref that most candidates provide a commercial email address as opposed to a personal email, so you generally feel more confident that you are getting information from the right person.

In addition, it takes away recruiter bias or bad habits. I know that the majority of the references I’ve collected throughout my career probably sound very similar because you generally hear things the way you want to hear them. Having the referee's exact, unedited words in the reference means that managers have better information on which to base hiring decisions. But it also allows you the opportunity to go back and question that referee if you need to get a little bit more information.

I find that recruiters in my team will now often do the references earlier in the hiring process and request more references than they may have done previously. They may not just reference the top candidate, but also the second and third candidate on their list, which helps them make a more informed decision.

The simple interface and process of using Xref means recruiters are more likely to do them and do them well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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