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Tim Horton Children's Foundation Use Xref for its Reliability

Tim Horton Children’s Foundation reviews Xref's online reference checking software and explains how Xref helps streamline their recruitment efforts with added efficiency and flexibility.

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"Xref allows us to collect a greater volume of reliable information."


Automated references taken using Xref


References completed outside of business hours


The success rate on reference completion using Xref

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

The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation was founded in 1974 to honour Tim Horton’s desire to help youth that are less privileged, transition into adulthood. The work of our talent acquisition team can be quite cyclical, with around 400 - 500 mainly seasonal hires made annually. The Tim Horton Memorial Camps have served more than 220,000 campers to date and continue to grow each year, with more than 20,000 children attending seven camp locations across Canada and the United States in 2017.

During the program, youth campers leave their home community to join a new community led by our staff, so we take our duty of care very seriously. Making sure all candidates are vetted consistently and thoroughly against standardized competencies is very important.

Previously, our hiring managers would conduct a minimum of two reference checks using a phone-based approach. The process used to take up to a week to complete, which was hugely inefficient, particularly given the number of hires we’d typically be making in a short period of time.

I was first introduced to Xref at a talent conference. I was attending the conference with the aim of identifying vendors that could help us streamline and scale our talent acquisition processes. I wasn’t previously aware that this type of solution existed.

During our trial with Xref, both candidates and references provided positive feedback about their experience of using it, noting its modern approach, convenience, simplicity, and transparency as key benefits.

What was your brief?

For us, reference checks are more than a tick in a box, we use them to find information about candidates that will support our hiring decision, and inform how we manage new recruits.

As we continue to grow, we are looking for ways to leverage technology to improve our recruitment efforts, while maintaining our focus on finding the talent that possesses values that align with ours.

We wanted to be able to demonstrate that we are a modern and efficient organization, with a consistent and thorough hiring process that ensures we hire only the best people to care for and support our young campers.

What has been the outcome?

When you are hiring a high volume of staff over a short period of time, it can be difficult to do phone-based reference checking well. Xref has introduced consistency, efficiency, and flexibility to the process. Our candidates and references are now able to provide information at a time that suits them, on any device.

We recruit from all over Canada and the United States, so Xref also mitigates the challenges of recruiting across multiple time zones. During our trial of the platform, we found that 20 percent of the references responded outside of traditional office hours, taking advantage of the convenience of the product. We are still seeing this trend as we continue to use the platform, and are benefiting from receiving references back sooner than we may have previously.

The fact that Xref questionnaires are customizable is also hugely beneficial, as it allows us to be more role-specific. This customization, along with the fact that we can compare core competency scores, also allows us to benchmark against candidates that have been through the platform previously and ensure we’re hiring a consistently high level of talent.

Finally, while Xref allows us to collect a greater volume of more reliable information, quickly and easily, we also value the fact that it doesn’t prevent us from seeking further information from a candidate or reference. If further insight is required on a point raised or area of concern, we can quickly source that information at an agreed time. It takes about 20 seconds to request an Xref reference, which provides us with time back to focus on more strategic tasks while offering our candidates and references flexibility, convenience and transparency.

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