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How Xref Adds Protection Against Reference Fraud | Michael Hill

Michael Hill has seen a number of benefits of using automated reference checking, including added protection against reference fraud and improved consistency and accuracy of insights collected. Here we explore how the team discovered Xref and what the results have been since introducing it in 2015.

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"The increased level of security has raised a number of cases of fraudulent activity which may not have been detected through the traditional reference checking process."


It takes, on average, just 20 hours to turnaround references


50% of references are completed outside traditional business hours


Michael Hill references now include, on average, 216 words per report

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

Our reference checking process used to sit with one person and it would take up to 80 per cent of their time - it essentially required calling people all day, every day. It was an un-enjoyable part of the role and an ineffective use of skills and time.
This was one of the main catalysts for partnering with Xref, along with the amount of outstanding and incomplete references that remained, despite the time and effort spent trying to collect them.
During our Xref trial, we learnt that 50 per cent of our references were being completed outside of business hours – so introducing the service across the company was a no brainer in terms of the efficiency it would bring.

Another motivator for adopting Xref was knowing that the recruitment process would be consistent every single time. We know that the referees for every candidate of a role are now asked exactly the same questions and we get comparable responses.

What did you need Xref to do for you? 

Reference checking for the retail industry is difficult as it isn’t always a 9-5 job and it’s not unusual for people to be working on a Saturday or a Sunday. Hours can be long and late at night. We needed Xref to enable people to complete reference checks outside of business hours, at a time that’s convenient for them.

We needed a solution that would enable us to upgrade and speed up our reference checking process.

What has been the outcome of using Xref?

We now use Xref as an integration through PageUp and the ease of that process adds a huge amount of speed and efficiency to reference checks. We have a much tighter and faster recruitment process as a result.

We receive an Xref reference report back within around 24 hours. You can leave the office on a Friday and by Monday more than half of the reference checks will have been completed.

Although fraudulent references have not been a significant issue for Michael Hill in the past, the increased level of security that Xref provides has raised a number of cases of fraudulent activity which may not have been detected through the traditional reference checking process.

The system flags if the IP address of the candidate is the same IP address as the referee, for example. We would not have actively sought out fraudulent activity during the reference checking phase before, it would really just have been down to luck if we identified anything suspicious. And the security of the Xref process was something that other providers couldn’t offer. It gives us much greater confidence that the reference check is being completed by the appropriate person.

Given the consistency of the process, we are now also able to use information collected, to benchmark candidates and aggregate data over time about the employees entering our business, based on categories such as their previous experience and skill set.

We were never really concerned by the automated process at all. Some people use reference checking for insight, and some people use it as a tool for compliance. And we’re probably more the latter, but we do get great insight as a result.

We’ve been really happy with the platform and we continue to purchase additional credits as required. The fact that you can do up to three references per candidate for the cost of one credit is really competitive.

You may also be interested in:

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  2. Xref Increases Security and Data Assurance | Sodexo
  3. How Xref has Helped Make the Reference Checking Process at Macca’s Fast and Accurate

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