Checklist for Choosing a Vendor

Any hiring decisions an organization makes should be informed not only by the caliber of a potential candidate’s resume, or how well they performed during their interview, but also by the feedback and input garnered from their previous employers, colleagues and direct reports. There are many ways you might decide to make this happen, from a fully-automated solution to a simple phone call.

But pursuing verified information from a candidate’s priors via outdated or inefficient manual methods can result in miscommunication, unclear or purposefully vague information, or references that just aren’t checked due to clerical errors or piled-up workloads for your recruiters.

The solution is clear: utilizing a quality reference-checking tool can be your competitive advantage when making new personnel decisions for your company. Below, you will find a guide with factors to consider when selecting a reference check automation tool..

Reference Checking Services: Why Check References

The numbers don’t lie: Hiring the wrong candidate can hurt business performance and productivity, resulting in extraordinary losses in both money and time for any organization.

It is estimated that the cost of turnover outweighs an employee’s salary by 30% – 200% or more. Hasty hiring decisions can increase turnover rates, and therefore inflate the amount of money a company spends trying to replace lost employees.

Turnover can be directly tied to the number of references you check. It turns out there is a magic number of references you should solicit feedback from in order to decrease involuntary turnover as much as possible. See our article here for more information on how many references you need to check.

And there are additional costs at risk. At an organizational level, occupational fraud costs businesses an average of $140,000 per year, owing to corruption, lawsuits, or other costly measures necessitated by a bad hire. Given these figures, it’s clear a lot of money can be saved by implementing the right processes up front.

Therefore, it is critical that an impressive resume and an excellent interview are backed up with glowing references and recommendations. And by holding applicants to high standards, paying attention to red flags, and asking references and candidates the right questions, a company can make smarter hiring decisions, bringing in the best talent on the first try and saving considerable money in the long run.

Checklist for Selecting a Reference Check Vendor:

1. Credibility and Dependability of Vendor

Choose an established organization that has years of reliable service to top notch, enterprise-level clients. Who owns the company, what is their roadmap or vision and how is their stability overall? Consider researching their head of security and the company’s reputation in providing near perfect uptime, cutting-edge security protocol and excellent communications systems in place in case of emergency. And of course, ask for client recommendations of organizations in your industry.

Founded in 2006, Checkster serves Fortune 500 companies across the globe and we’re happy to provide many Enterprise-level client references.

2. GDPR Compliance, Accessibility and Other Legal Requirements

Check whether the vendor has addressed all current legislation and compliance requirements. Are they certified where need be? Have they put in place processes to cover GDPR and other legal obligations? What about access to their tools for those who are impaired? Is the product team actively working at all times to improve or remain compliant with the accessibility standards? This may be a legal obligation for your organization to require of all signed vendors.

Checkster is GDPR compliant as noted in our privacy policy here and we will continue to actively implement due diligence (ongoing) to meet all accessibility standards.

3. Survey Question Content

The content of the questions asked in reference checks is notably extremely important. Inconsistencies or poorly worded questions can lead to inconsistent feedback and ultimately, bias. Who creates the questions used in your potential vendor’s surveys? How do they verify accuracy, consistency and compliance? Remember you’ll probably want to customize your question sets at some point to create your own competency profiles. Does the vendor support these edits and how?

Checkster provides templates of questions, validated by independent I/O psychologists, found to be accurate predictors of performance and turnover. We offer complimentary consulting with our I/O psychologists to review your content and consult on industry best practices.

Side Note: Content Creation
Based on your organization’s specific hiring needs, departments and roles, your survey questions will very likely require customization. However, when it comes to flexibility in creating new questions, there can be too much of a good thing. Consider the implications if any and every hiring manager or recruiter in your organization can make survey edits. Spelling errors are one thing, but guiding bias in how questions are worded is quite another. To remain consistent and compliant ensure your vendor has security settings to limit and guide management on how and when and what to customize when it comes to content creation.

4. Account Support

Find out what will happen after the contract is signed. Will you have your own Account Manager? Is there a set process in place to check in on your account performance? How readily available, and more importantly how knowledgeable, is customer support? How about product input? Is there a process for collecting valuable product suggestions and getting them in front of the product development team?

With Checkster, you’ll be assigned an Account Manager to help you every step of the way. We schedule QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) to go over all the details on your account, including performance reports, and to answer any questions you may have. Our Customer Support team is top rated by our users for being both knowledgeable and helpful. There’s a reason our renewal rate remains so high!

5. Retention of Clients

Does the company measure net promoter score and how high is it? What is their retention rate of existing clients? These may provide clues as to how happy their client base is and how they treat them.

An independent third-party survey showed Checkster users at a 96% likelihood to renew (we see that or higher in our own stats). We care about our clients and are here to support them every step of the way.

6. Integrations and APIs

Take note of what integrations the vendor offers. Do they play well with your current set of tools and needs? Is the vendor certified in the ones that matter? Do they offer special custom integrations if need be?

Checkster has many certified integrations ready to go and quickly building a long list of many more (it’s a 2020 initiative for us).

7. Global Market Accessibility

Does the company truly function globally? Can they support multiple languages or locations? How many languages do they support? What is their experience with multiple languages or working with different cultures? For a large or growing enterprise this can be a critical need for success.

Checkster fully supports over 18 languages. In addition to supporting these languages, our expertise working with organizations internationally also allows us to be able to guide you on ratings distinctions and variations across the globe.

8. Enterprise-Level Support

Does the vendor have significant experience supporting an Enterprise level organization? When it comes to navigating approvals, onboarding new users, setting permissions, sharing reports — there are a myriad of specifics that will need to handled differently for large organizations versus small. Are they proficient in providing this type of support?

Checkster’s main focus has always been on Fortune 500 organizations. All of our support processes, best practices and account management processes have been designed to offer the highest level of professionalism and legal compliance. Smaller organizations at the same time can benefit from the enterprise-level best practices we’ve learned from the best and largest organizations in your industry.

9. Validation Studies

Is the company’s leadership driven by the science behind the product and constantly looking to innovate? Will your corporations be able to grow together or does the vendor appear stagnant? For a reference checking solution to be credible, it’s important that the company takes pro-active steps at running ongoing validation studies.

Prior to co-founding Checkster, our CEO, Yves Lermusi, was President of Research at Taleo for 7 years. He is a thought-leader and a well known Talent Industry public speaker who is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Week. He is constantly spearheading new research about the talent industry including recent papers: Collective Intelligence and A.I., The Magic Number of References, and Quality of Hire: A Framework.

10. Fraud Checks

How sophisticated is the vendor’s fraud detection system? If it’s based solely on IP addresses, it could be creating unnecessary and unfounded fraud alerts which could waste your company a lot of time and money. How does their model work when it comes to validating fraud? Ask specific questions and request to speak with existing clients or see case studies covering the details on how they detect and validate fraud.

Checkster uses a 12-Level Fraud Investigation to determine if the reference is fake or real. On average, Checkster clients identify 12% of their candidates as fraudulent or unfit for the company or role using our tool. Make sure your vendor of choice will catch all the fraudulent cases, but not waste your time on false alarms.

11. Reporting

Ask to see sample reports to see exactly what you will get with the tool. How useful are they? Are they easy to read or will your teams need extensive training? Will you be able to extract powerful insights from the data presented or will it just create confusion?

Checkster’s reports offer instant insights on candidate skills and fit. Ask sales to share our most recent reports to see how easy it is to pull powerful takeaways from our collective intelligence data!

Checkster: The Enterprise Choice for a Reference Checking Service

If you are working on an RFP or currently conducting research to select a vendor, and would like a full guide on what not to forget to ask during your selection process, email and we will happily share a full RFP checklist!

Ready to hear more about how Checkster can help you make smarter hiring decisions? Email us at to set up a customized demo or sign up for a time to talk to us here.