I have to admit that I have long said that reference checks have limited value. Let me differentiate that from background checks of which I am a big proponent. However, after interviewing Ray Bixler of SkillSurvey I may have to change my tune.
Getting rid of the phone
According to Bixler, who has been the CEO for over 10 years, the goal of SkillSurvey is to forever change reference checking. They are trying to do that by getting rid of using the phone in the process. If you have ever checked a candidate’s references by phone you know that it can be a daunting process. Playing the inevitable phone tag game takes time and effort. When you finally get to the person you find they are hesitant to provide you with any information because they don’t really know if you are genuine or they have a company policy about information being given over the phone. This is frustrating to the point that often references are not talked to at all.
SkillSurvery has redefined the process according to Bixler by automating the process and making it accessible on any device. The reference is sent out as a survey to the named reference. The request appears to come from the candidate, thus providing the authorization to release the information. The survey, which has been developed by a team of industrial and organizational psychologists, can be completed in a relatively short time by the person asked to complete it. It helps companies make more effective decisions on whether a candidate has what it takes to work for them.
It integrates with 19 applicant tracking systems. It allows a request for a reference to be created in 8 minutes. Bixler says that recruiters love it and applicants love it as well.
One of the additional uses that can come from using this method is the data base of sources of references. Recruiters have long discovered that references are also a great source of candidates. When you contact 100,000 references per month that gives you a great candidate pool that is available to clients.
They are currently trying to make greater use of the big data they are collecting in order to improve the selection process. Their patented Pre-Hire 360® allows the client to “View the overall reference feedback for each of the competency areas to see where the candidate excels, and which areas a hiring manager might want to further explore in the interview.”
According to Bixler there is yet a great deal that can be learned from the data they have collected.
This short interview cannot provide a complete picture of SkillSurvey and what it can do, so I suggest you visit their website to get a more complete picture. I was impressed.