We know that trusting your instinct over trusting your analytics doesn’t lead to positive results, but that’s just your gut – what about trusting other people who have had experience with your job applicants? References that job candidates provide can be useful, but trusting them over the data you get from hiring assessments can be as hazardous to your talent acquisition strategies as anything else.

4 Places Where References Go Wrong

references, job candidates, hiring assessments, talent acquisitionReference checks have their place in the hiring process, and while there’s a divide on how important reference checks are the fact remains that reference checking might feel more “assuring” than using a hiring assessment. There’s no rocket science behind this – it’s easier to trust a human who has had experience with the candidate in the past and can answer a multitude of questions, as opposed to a hiring assessment which provides numbers based on responses from the candidate.

At least, that’s the misconception.

There are plenty of reasons why someone might not want to use references, but don’t know where or how to replace that practice. We broke down four common reasons why references are weak in the hiring process, and how hiring assessments can help replace them by providing deeper, more qualified information. These four reasons are:

  • Most companies will only provide the bare bones: Date’s the employee was employed, what position they had, and what they were making once the employee left. Sound insightful? It’s not. And unless the employee was lying on their application, these are things you will have already known about.
    Where hiring assessments help: Because of the concern of legal liability, most organizations won’t provide feedback you’re looking for. But a hiring assessment will tell you answers to questions you want to know, like “how well does this candidate handle angry customers?” or “does the candidate learn things quickly?” without the concern of legal liability.
  • Trusting the information: We’re all human, and thus we all have our own perspectives on things. No matter how hard we try to be objective at times, our own personal bias can leak through. This is problematic on both ends of the spectrum: good employees tend to get sterling reviews, with hardly any negatives, and poor performing employees are likely going to try and find someone who will speak highly of them in order to help their chances of landing a job. In both instances the referral you’ll be speaking to will want to avoid causing a problem or burning a bridge, and thus you might be getting information that sounds helpful but isn’t trustworthy.
    Where hiring assessments help: Want to know how well a job candidate can do a job? Make them do it. Job simulations are powerful, incredibly informative tools that can help give you the insights you need about whether a candidate can do the job well, or if they can just “talk the talk” well.
  • Time is a factor: References take up time for you and the person you’re talking to. From scheduling a mutually agreed upon time to making sure you’re getting the information you need, using a job reference as your only guide simply eats up the time of everyone. And that also means a much longer hiring process, keeping your candidates waiting and keeping your vacant positions unfilled.
    Where hiring assessments help: Hiring assessments help shorten the time of the hiring process, which means your qualified candidates get hired sooner and your unqualified ones can move on and find a position better suited for them elsewhere. And it means the bulk of the heavy lifting is on the responsibility of the candidate, allowing you to fulfill your other responsibilities without losing time on the hiring process.
  • No references available: Sometimes people just don’t have references – they don’t have the work experience, or they have such a minimal experience that there’s nobody that they can point to and say “this is who I worked with.” Entry level positions suffer from this problem, which makes it hard to hire an entry level employee if you’re looking only to references.
    Where hiring assessments help: No references? No problem. Let the hiring assessment tools you have in your hiring process do the referencing for you. Get an in depth look at their personality, find out if they can do the job, measure what their work skills are – get a holistic view of your candidate even if they are lacking a person who can vouch for their work experience.

Want to start using hiring assessments as your primary job reference? Why not try a job simulation to see if your candidate can do the role they’re applying for. Learn more about the benefits of job simulations by downloading our whitepaper below.