reference checks: an untapped source of qualified passive candidates.

September 20, 2019 Yves Lermusi

Originally, sourcing was a one-trick pony: it was all about job boards. 

| 3 min read |

However, times have changed. In today’s world, recruiting has become much more competitive. And to stay competitive, you need to get creative.

While job boards still provide an effective avenue to recruit candidates, recruiting these days requires a more proactive approach to candidate sourcing. In fact, successful recruiters need to utilize innovative and varied channels in order to supply the high influx of quality candidates required to fill open positions quickly.

One surprise example of creative sourcing? Automated reference checks.

how automated reference checks are used for strategic sourcing

Randstad Sourceright strategic sourcing with reference checksIn addition to its core feature of conducting automated reference checks, some automated tools, such as Checkter’s Reference Insights, provide an unexpected bonus. They automatically build a database (or talent community) of relevant, qualified passive candidates who have opted in to hear more about job opportunities at your organization.

Here’s how it works. When it's time to check your candidate's references, the automated reference check technology sends out an email or text to the candidate. It can even be integrated within your ATS so the invitation is sent automatically by a change of state.

The candidates will then invite their references via email or text. The references are then directed to an online questionnaire. At the end of this questionnaire, the reference adds their own details.

This allows the tool to collect detailed contact information, including email address, phone and title from references. It also asks them to opt-in to be contacted about future job opportunities.

These reference contacts that you’re engaging are typically qualified job candidates. As you can imagine, it’s common for candidates to share professional level, job history, industry skills and even accomplishments with their references (who are often their managers or peers). A candidate’s network, therefore, can be an invaluable source for similarly skilled individuals.

Essentially, if you liked the candidate, you’ll probably like their references.

putting it in practice

One client turned to Checkster after facing significant challenges when trying to source for niche talent: polymer traders. This type of candidate can’t be found easily online via career website resumes or job board searches, including LinkedIn. The key to finding these rare and highly skilled workers, is through their internal networks.

The client used this technology to check more than five references for every candidate that made it to the final round (top three candidates). Since the checks were automated, these extra reference checks did not take extra time for their recruiters.

The result?

Their database for polymer traders filled up quickly, sourcing an average of 10-15 passive candidate leads for every hire they made.

The organization is able to source and engage talent for new openings directly from this talent community.

These stellar results aren’t unusual. Automated reference checks return an average of six reference responses per candidate. And Checkster sees a consistent opt in rate of 80%. That’s five new passive candidates per candidate checked who agree to join your organization’s talent community and hear more about jobs at your firm.

While we mostly think about reference checking as a way to screen candidates, there is a hidden gem in all of those interactions. Start thinking about strategic sourcing and screening.

About the Author

Yves Lermusi

Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third-party blog.

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