According to a poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 48% of businesses surveyed outsourced some or all of their reference checking. It’s no secret that reference checking can be a pain. Traditional phone checks require considerable time and effort and often lead to a lot of fairly useless information. Outsourcing this arduous process to a reference checking service is a great way to save a lot of time and money while also drastically improving the quality of your hires.

How do you determine if a reference checking service is right for you? Is there any way to evaluate these services to determine if they can offer what you need?


The following are some of the top questions you should ask as you evaluate reference checking services:

1. Does the Reference Checker Have Safeguards Against Fake References?

Reference checking services are a great way to improve the quality of hires. As you evaluate reference checking services, consider whether the service offers any safeguard against gaming the system. For example, a candidate might try to falsify reference information to look more appealing to potential employers. Reference checking services should ensure that such tactics are prevented using algorithms combining behaviors and data such as flagging references that are submitted from the same IP address.

[Read More: How to Deal With Fake References]

2. Does the Service Offer a Complete View of Candidates?

Reference checking services need to go beyond the basic and superficial. Confirming details such as past job titles, dates of employment and education are important and often the core of a modern employment verification, but digging deeper is what yields useful data on the quality of job applicants. An in depth reference checking service will provide a 360-degree look at each candidate in question. The service should be able to provide you with information on key aspects of the individual including the unique talents and abilities they might bring to the table.

3. Does the Service Allow You to Look at Specific Aptitudes?

A high-quality reference checking service can give you a wealth of information on each candidate. Perhaps most importantly, it can provide you with specific information on aptitudes or talents that candidate will need for your new role. For some jobs, possessing a certain set of skills or attitude makes candidates much more likely to succeed. These are the individuals in which your business wants to invest. Identifying this type of talent allows your company to bring in the best and brightest for these important positions.

4. Does the Reference Checking Service Have Good Reviews?

Before you sign up for an automated reference checking service, take a look at their customer reviews and case studies. Take note of the organizations that use the service and what they have to say about what the service offers. Meaningful case studies and reviews are a good indicator that a reference checking service will be able to provide an excellent experience, speed up the hiring process and lead to better quality hires.

For many companies, reference checking alone requires a tremendous amount of employee time. By freeing up that time spent chasing down references, hiring managers can devote their efforts to other important aspects of the talent search that will benefit the company.

Are there any other strategies you use when evaluating reference checking services?