I’ve always loved checking a candidate’s references. I enjoy the conversations I have with the reference contacts and I’ve uncovered valuable nuggets of information about my future employee that I may not have otherwise or wouldn’t have been picked up by a recruiter conducting the reference check. Speaking with references gives me the confidence that I’m making the right decision about a future employee and it gives me the personal satisfaction that I’ve done my due diligence in the hiring process.

But the process of checking a candidate’s references can be as frustrating as the conversation may be enjoyable. The email exchanges setting up a convenient time for a call; the missed calls that need to be rescheduled; the calls taken in the car during my commute or off-hours. So if there were another way to check candidate references that alleviated the administrative burden but delivered the same feelings of value and satisfaction, that’s something I could get excited about.

When my role in the process changed to being the candidate rather than the hiring manager, I had to provide references to my future employer and had the opportunity to experience a whole new reference checking process. Full disclosure, the employer I’m referring to is HealthcareSource where I am currently employed as director of marketing. I provided my future employer with the names and email addresses of my references who subsequently received a personalized email from me asking them to provide their feedback via an online survey that had multiple choice questions and free-form response fields. Not only did I think it was cool that my references received the reference request from me, rather than an unknown recruiter or hiring manager, but my references commented to me how much they enjoyed the process and how easy it was.

The simplicity of the online survey allowed my references to respond quickly and candidly. They told me they appreciated ability to respond at their convenience and provide commentary in the free-form fields to expand upon or clarify the survey responses. Since all she needed was internet access, one of my references even responded while she was traveling in the Middle East!

What’s great is that now that I’m a hiring manager at HealthcareSource, I get to utilize HealthcareSource Reference Assessment, our own reference checking solution that was used for me as a candidate. The responses I get from my candidate references are candid and comprehensive. It’s more efficient for everyone than scheduling and blocking time on the calendar for two or three reference calls.  And I get more references to respond (we usually ask for five) because it’s so quick and easy, so I have a broader base of input to influence my hiring decision.

What’s most important is that I’m very proud of the hiring decisions I’ve made since coming to HealthcareSource. The new reference checking process isn’t the reason the employees I’ve hired have been successful, but it did give me the same confidence and satisfaction that I was making the right hiring decisions as checking references the old fashioned way.  Based on my experience as a candidate and a hiring manager, perhaps it’s time for everyone to reconsider the reference checking process.


It’s time to stop calling candidate references.

Download our white paper: Phone-Based Reference Checking Isn’t Working: 5 Reasons to Automate the Process

You’ll learn how five leading healthcare organizations have improved their recruitment processes with automated reference checking and the benefits experienced by HR, hiring managers, and candidates alike.whitepaper-download

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.