Employment Verifications

What Exactly is Revealed Through Reference Checks?

It’s a bit ironic to think that one could say all the right things in an interview, yet the job offer may depend more on the words of someone else. This is all thanks to reference checks. No one can know for sure what references will say, but this article aims to shed some light on what recruiters are digging for.

Evaluation of Skills

Recruiters want to learn about actual job performance. This includes things such as leadership skills, adaptability, decision making, etc. Recruiters often want a confirming example along with evaluating the skill.


Honesty is integrated into the culture of many companies and organizations; therefore, recruiters understandably want to hire honest candidates. To ensure that the statements a candidate has made about previous work experiences are true, reference checks verify the validity of a resume and other claims made during the interview. The only way to authenticate these claims is to get in touch with someone that knows and is willing to confirm or deny the claims.

Gathering Opinions

Another crucial point of reference checks is simply to gain a better understanding of the likeability of a candidate. It’s very tough to determine the personality of a candidate through a couple of face-to-face interactions. While one may be very successful in a field of work, it  doesn’t necessarily follow that others enjoy working with them. This is important information for recruiters to know, and is best learned through the feedback of references.

Reference checks can provide a more complete picture of an individual. While it’s a bit worrisome to think that past employers and peers may have a say in your future employment, it should also be kept in mind that reference checks are usually helpful. Although your relationship with your past employer may have been somewhat less than ideal, it is always better to be honest and open in the interview phase, as reference checks will likely reveal the truth.

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Don’t Be ‘Resumé Blinded’ When Hiring


Because a resumé tends to be a good summary of one’s professional background and achievements, it's no surprise that a significant portion of the hiring process can be based on it’s content, appearance, etc. However, it should also be noted that (according to a survey by CareerBuilder), of 2,500 hiring managers, 56% have caught candidates lying on their resumé. In addition, the survey found that nearly 25% of hiring managers came across candidates that claimed to have been employed by companies for whom they had never worked. It is certainly not uncommon for someone to fabricate or exaggerate the truth on a resumé, or even to flat-out lie.

So while an impressive resumé should not be automatically discounted, it certainly should be validated. Do not base a hiring decision on a stellar resumé alone and become ‘resumé blinded’ by a candidate who may not be exactly who or what they claim.

How can one validate a resumé?

The answer to this question is, and has always been, through a process of rigorous reference checks. Cross-checking the information that a candidate provides (whether on their resumé or in an interview) is nothing new to the HR industry. It is still the only way to ensure candidates are being honest about their backgrounds and experience.

Why would an HR team NOT want to do reference checks?

The downside of reference checking is that it is somewhat tedious and time consuming work. Traditionally, an HR employee would have to call each of the candidate’s references. In the case where there are many candidates applying for the same position, the reference checking process can result in many hours of phone calls. The HR employee may have to call many times simply to obtain necessary information.

How Reflynk Fixes the Issue

Candidate Driven:

Instead of the work being placed on the HR employee to obtain reference feedback, Reflynk places the responsibility on each candidate. Being a candidate-driven software, each candidate must initiate the process by entering a set number of references and their contact information into the system. The system automates each step in between the entering of references and the receiving of feedback.

Email and Text vs Phone Calls:

Instead of phone calls, Reflynk utilizes text and email. Email and text are much more effective in receiving quick responses than a series of endless phone calls.

Feedback via Survey

Through text and email notifications, each reference must complete a customized survey developed by the HR team. All aspects of desired feedback is covered i.e. leadership, team support, ethics, etc. Finally, the survey is presented in a very easy-to-digest report which allows the HR manager to go through each candidate’s results in a minimal amount of time.

Reflynk ensures that each candidate is who they claim to be and that the best candidate for the position is the one who receives the offer.

For more information on how Reflynk can save your HR team time and money, click here to register for our weekly demo.

What Is the Difference Between a Reference Check and Employment Verification?


A Reference check and an employment verification are two completely different steps in the hiring of an employee.  The stage at which they both take place is basically the only thing that they have in common.  Let’s begin answering the question above by breaking the two actions down with definitions.

Reference Check-  The process of getting information about a person from previous employers, schools, colleges, or other available sources including professional and personal peers.  

Employment Verification:  The practice of verifying the employment eligibility and the past work history of current or potential employees.  http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/employment-verification.html

A reference check is a much broader tool than an employment verification.  It uses varying methods of collecting information from multiple sources which cover many aspects of the prospective employee’s life.  

The most frequently used sources:

  • Former managers in the workplace

  • Former peers in the work space

  • Current outside interest peers

  • Family members

  • Religious group peers

Areas of interest include:

  • Demonstrated work ethic

  • Personality traits

  • Cultural fit

  • Past behaviors as predictors of future behavior

  • Punctuality

In the past, most employers have conducted reference checks themselves. The outdated process consisted of:

  • Collecting the reference information from the candidate

  • Phoning each reference individually and asking a series of questions

  • Documenting responses for record keeping purposes

This process is time consuming and labor intensive. Advances in technology can automate the process for greater efficiency and improved time management.  www.reflynk.com

Employment verification has a narrower focus than reference checks. The sole purpose of employment verifications is to confirm the various aspects of a candidate’s work history, such as:

  • Employment dates

  • Employment positions and responsibilities

  • Salary history (in some cases)

In some cases, the employment verification can include verifying Education Certification or License Certification.

Some of this verification is still done manually, but there are multiple database sources that companies can access to verify information.  In many cases, this can be done in conjunction with a background check.

Reference checks cover a much broader range of sources over a greater number of topics. Employment verifications simply verify information that was given during the application process.  These two time consuming but necessary steps of the hiring process are vital to considering a candidate’s suitability for employment.