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Be wary of outsourcing Reference Checking

An industry – and Human Resources tactic has grown up around outsourcing Reference/Background verification.
There is growing evidence suggesting that by outsourcing reference checking from the end-to-end recruitment process entrusted to the recruitment consultant is fraught with risk. Separating background checking from the recruiter’s responsibility may independently verify work history, education & training credentials but severely miss the very essence of the person being considered for employment – a factor gleaned through the interview process and should be probed in the verification stage.
As a consultant providing a complete end-to-end recruitment solution we tailor our reference/background checking process to a combination of “the facts” and suitability to the role, culture, leadership style and career opportunity being considered. In other words, we’ve seen and heard the candidate through the interview process and factor our interpretation of candidate behaviour and motivations into the reference checking process.
After all, the overriding factor in the client hiring decision is based on their confidence/judgement in candidate alignment with company culture and leadership/management style, motivations, presentation – and then competencies, experience and track record.
In other words, the subjective judgement around a candidates “soft skills” is mostly where the ultimate hiring decision lies. And who other than the Consultant executing the recruitment process has the best read/insight to these qualities?
A professional Recruitment Consultant whether internal or outsourced will probe both hard and soft skills in a 360 degree way to fully establish the suitability of candidates to the company and position being recruited – they will be very diligent in gaining the best possible insights to the probability of candidate success.
Divorcing or outsourcing the Reference/Background Checking phase of the recruitment process from the recruiter’s responsibility means these nuances, vital to achieving a successful and sustainable hiring decision are potentially missing from the overall “data bank” of information.

John Gilbert
Principal – Options Consulting Group
T: 03 9693 9300
M: 0408 697 128