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Consumer Products

How custom reference questions benefit The Interiors Group

Discover how Chantal Court and the team at The Interiors Group NZ have benefited from the efficiency, customisation and support offered by Xref.

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“The fact that Xref is so fast and simple to use for everybody involved really takes the stress and pressure out of the final stage of the process.”


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Tell us a bit about you and your background. 

I’ve been in the recruitment industry for about four years, starting at an agency as a grad and moving up to a consultant position. I had a few different opportunities that led me to where I am now and am glad I had the chance to gain a lot of varied experience hiring for different types of roles. 

I’ve been with Interiors Group for about a year now and am responsible for all of our national hires, about 150 roles per year. I had never used the Xref platform before joining but The Interiors Group already had it installed when I joined and it was so easy for me to learn how to use it. I would never go back to manual reference checking now.

What type of hires are you currently using Xref for? 

I use Xref for every role we hire. I love that it’s fair and we find it helpful to put everybody through the exact same process., We have started tailoring our reference check templates to get more out of them. It’s been great working with Scot and the Xref New Zealand team to create really dynamic templates that help us get very role-specific feedback from the referees. 

It’s been really useful for the managers to get more detail in the areas that matter to them. For example, if we are hiring for a sales role, we can ask specific questions about meeting KPIs or if it’s for a manager we can find out how they handled profits and losses for a store and what impact they had. 

COVID-19 created a lot of uncertainty, how did this impact your recruitment?

Our first response was to put a complete freeze on hiring as it was not fair to candidates to continue while we were unsure about how we were going to respond and what parts of the business it was going to affect. We needed to temporarily close down our retail stores and consider how our sales team were going to operate because usually, they would be visiting people at their homes. At first, we used the time as a company to focus on training which helped us to stay connected and keep working towards a common goal. More recently we made the shift to doing online consultations which have been very successful. We’re considering including this as part of our initial sales process going forward past COVID-19 as it’s proven to be popular with our clients and a great use of our resources.

We made a few new hires during this time but not too many as we wanted to focus on making sure our staff can adjust to the new normal returning back to work. Onboarding remotely has been an interesting challenge that we’ve taken to really well. We’ve had the chance to experiment with an e-learning software that allows us to create content we can share with new staff members. One of the modules, in particular, has proven popular - we give new hires the fun assignment of considering design options in their own home and taking measurements for a hypothetical remodel. Along with lots of conference calls, this process has been really successful in engaging new staff members so far.

What impact has online reference checking had on your team?

Before Xref was implemented, the team was just using a basic word document for reference checks and it was the same template for all of our roles. Now, 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. 

One of the more surprising benefits of using Xref has been the support network that comes with the platform. The Xref team shares a lot of market insights that can be really useful and help us to go back to managers with examples of what we could be doing differently to improve our process. 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.

Tell us more about your digital recruitment process and what tools you are using.

We use JobAdder, with Xref integrated, which is a really great combination. JobAdder takes care of tracking where the candidate is throughout the process and when someone is approved, we can just put them through for a reference check with all of the information already available in the JobAdder platform. So we don’t need to manually type any of it up, it’s all done for us. Even though we can manage the process from JobAdder, we still have the option of logging into the Xref app to view all the details there too. I like using the platform directly to reference historical data as everything is so clearly laid out and it’s easy to pull out a report if I need to.

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