reference checks

Conducting Exit Interviews with RefLynk

RefLynk is an automated reference check system, but it can be used in many different ways. One use could be performing exit interviews. Exit interviews can be awkward, inefficient, and unproductive. No one actually wants to participate in one, but it is something that can be very beneficial for both parties. So how can an exit interview be made less awkward, but just as productive? The use of RefLynk can make this happen.

With RefLynk, an exit interview can be conducted by both parties without ever having to meet face-to-face. RefLynk surveys are customizable, and are sent via text message and/or email to the candidate. This not only eliminates the awkward meeting, but it also elicits a few other pros of using RefLynk to conduct exit interviews. These include:

  • Honesty - It is a lot easier to be honest when filling out a survey online than it is to be honest in a face-to-face meeting. If there is anything negative to say, chances are, it will come out through RefLynk more often than in the conventional exit interview.

  • Time-Saving -  Scheduling meetings can be difficult. Everyone is busy, everyone has other responsibilities, and it is hard to get people’s calendars to match up. With RefLynk, there would be no need to waste time scheduling meetings.

  • Records - Because the exit interview is conducted through RefLynk, you will have a copy of the report. This could be great for filing, and for keeping record of exit interviews. 

If your organization uses RefLynk, you don’t only have to use the service for your reference checks. You would be able to use it anyway you wish with exit interviews being a perfect example. We, at RefLynk, know how important time is for any organization. As the saying goes, “time is money”. RefLynk can save your organization hours when it comes to things like reference checks and exit interviews. The more time you save here could result in more time used in other realms of your organization.

If your organization does not conduct exit interviews, or if you would rather continue doing them face-to-face, don’t worry. RefLynk can be used for things other than reference checks or exit interviews. So, if you are looking for more ways to use RefLynk, please make sure you keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs. We will touch on other ways RefLynk can be used to benefit your organization. 

If you would like to learn more, or if you want to know if RefLynk can be used in a certain way, please consider scheduling a 1:1 demo/conversation with one of our team members to talk about it and see the system. You can sign up for a demo/conversation by filling out this form: RefLynk 1:1. We would be more than happy to set that up for you. Thank you so much for your interest in RefLynk!

How to Conduct Reference Checking

Reference checking is a critical step in the hiring process because it is crucial to learn about a potential employee’s past, work experience, and workplace interactions; however, reference checking can result in wasting countless hours and manpower. Frustrating rounds of “phone tag” waste valuable time. With RefLynk, these problems are solved. Our automated software is candidate driven employing SMS text messaging and emailing. This means no more phone tag while trying to reach different references because RefLynk is a fully automated system. Texts and emails are sent to references without the user having to do each one individually. This eliminates a lot of wasted time.  Since the system automatically sends reminders, it requires no additional work on the user’s part. Reminders are continuously sent until there is a response. Responses being either a completed reference or a refusal. This guarantees that no reference is overlooked because of a lack of contact or referral response. Receiving regular reminders prompts the recipient to complete the form and return it quickly. Today’s technology dependent world dictates that people are likely to check their email and texts multiple times a day, increasing the likelihood of timely responses. Phone calls, on the other hand, can easily go unanswered or unreturned. Each reminder is automatically sent out to the references every 24 hours until responses are received. This process ensures that time is saved rather than wasted.  Even though reference checking is vital and extremely important for businesses, today there is no reason for it to take an unreasonable amount of time.

So what exactly is a reference check and why is it so important? A reference check is when an employer reaches out to a job applicant's previous employers, educational contacts, and other sources to learn about the applicant’s history, work habits, and other qualifications. The evaluation of an applicant’s skills, character, and work habits is the primary focus of a reference check.  An interview can only reveal a limited amount of information about a person. It is important to learn what other people have to say about the candidate.  A reference check can cover leadership skills, adaptability, decision making, etc. A reference check can even ask for examples of how the candidate demonstrated specific skills in the past.

Another important aspect of a reference check is verifying the truth.  The candidate can claim certain accomplishments during their last job, but a potential employer needs to be able to confirm that such claims are true. The way to do that is to ask the candidate’s past employer during a reference check.  The past employer will hopefully verify applicant claims about job experience and skills.  The inquiring company will then be able to compare what is said about the candidate by references to what the potential employee has claimed on their resumé. This not only ensures that the candidate is capable of performing certain tasks, but it also shows whether the candidate is truthful.

Another critical point of reference checks is gaining a better understanding of a candidate’s work relationships. It’s very tough to determine the personality of a candidate through a couple of face-to-face interviews. While one may be very successful in a field of work, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that others enjoy working with them. This is important information for recruiters to know, and is best learned through the feedback of references.  A potential candidate is inherently more likely to show their best self in an interview because there is something important (the job) on the line. It is crucial to examine what co-workers have experienced when dealing with the candidate on a daily basis. This input is vital to know when making a decision about hiring.  With that added information, the company can have much more confidence in the hiring decisions.

Now that we have discussed the capabilities that RefLynk possesses and why reference checks are important, we will now go into the features present that are relevant when choosing a reference-checking system. The first feature that is extremely important to look for when searching for a reference-checking company isn’t necessarily a feature at all.  It is actually a compliance issue that many reference-checking systems are lacking. In order for a good reference check to happen, and for it to be valid, it has to be completed through a company or system that is FCRA compliant.  Because Reflynk is considered an investigative consumer report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it requires clients to adhere to all requirements under the FCRA.  There are six requirements in order to be FCRA compliant. They are :

  1. Written permission must be obtained from the specific consumer, prior to receiving the consumer report.

  2. The consumer needs to be aware of how consumer report will be used.

  3. The information within the consumer report must be accurate.

  4. If deciding not to hire or to terminate employment, a copy of the report must be given to the consumer along with a Pre-Adverse Action Letter and a Summary of Rights Under the FCRA.

  5. If deciding not to hire or to terminate employment, the consumer must be given an opportunity to dispute any information within the consumer report.

  6. If the consumer does not dispute the report, then an Adverse Action Letter has to be sent to the consumer.

RefLynk abides by all of these requirements in order to be FCRA compliant.  Consumer reports include criminal background checks, references, driving history, etc.  Because references are included in the list of consumer reports, it is necessary to use a FCRA compliant company. RefLynk is exactly that.  

The next feature that is becoming necessary in reference checking is one that was mentioned in the beginning - the ability to use SMS text messaging and emails to conduct reference checks.  In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, time is of the essence and texting and emailing has become almost primary communication for many people.  Because of this, it is essential for businesses to make some changes to not only keep up with new technology, but to also make it easier for those using these forms of technology on a daily basis.  RefLynk has done this. The system is candidate driven, so that takes countless hours off of the employer’s plate. Instead of the employer calling and reaching out to the candidate’s (future employee’s) references, the candidate is asked to input the references into the system.  Once they are provided, a text and/or email will be sent to those prospective references.  They will then be able to decline the reference (in which case the candidate will be asked to supply another) or will be able to quickly fill out the reference without ever having to pick up the phone.  Because the candidate is asked to enter all of the information and the references are sent via text or email, the employer is basically hands-off throughout the entire process.

So what happens if the potential reference doesn’t see the initial text or email asking them to fill out a reference?  This brings us to the next important feature that RefLynk provides.  The RefLynk system sends out automatic reminders for people to complete the reference.  Once the survey is sent (this occurs when the candidate enters the contact information), RefLynk automatically reminds the references everyday at noon (in the appropriate time zone) that there is a survey waiting for them to either complete or deny.  This ensures that the potential reference sees the request thereby leading to faster responses.  The response being made in a timely manner is a direct result of a mix of the SMS text messaging/email and the auto reminders. Automation results in quicker turnaround times and less frustration for everyone.

So far, the features that have been addressed have been those of efficiency and time saving.  The next feature will be more focused on what the actual software looks like and how the client can use RefLynk in different ways.  In order to complete a reference, there has to be a survey made and sent to the candidate’s potential references.  RefLynk allows for the client to make customizable surveys for all of their job titles.  The survey can ask questions using either a Likert scale (rating from 1-5) or a free form response field. This enables the client to make any survey they want with many different types of questions. This ability to design customized surveys within the RefLynk system allows for the endless possibilities when it comes to reference checking.  RefLynk will also allow the client to edit any survey, so if a change is needed to be made, it can be easily done. What happens once all of the references are completed and it is time to view the results  It sounds like it could be a daunting task to go through all of the references and see who answered what within the survey, but RefLynk has made this a super easy as well. RefLynk supplies the client with aggregated feedback on all of the references.  Feedback is aggregated and scored by reference relationship. These reports are easy to read and provide consistent feedback and comparison. They allow for the easy comprehension of data.  Reports are available both online or through an integration as html or PDF. With these quantifiable results, the client will be able to easily view the provided answers without having to go through every question for every reference individually. Even though RefLynk has the capability to view the results this way, it is possible to look at them individually if that is preferred.  The responses can be viewed as aggregated feedback, or examined question by question.  Both ways are easily accessible within the system.

Now that RefLynk has been introduced, we are faced with the question of are reference checks important.  They are vital for a company when hiring a new employee because a background check and an interview are simply not enough when deciding if you want this candidate to be part of your business’ future.  A background check is important to decide if this person is safe and hasn’t committed any crimes. The interview lets the potential employer observe their personality, demeanor, and comportment on a very surface level.  The reference check will supply valuable feedback that is impossible to know based on a simple interview.

Think about when you are deciding what type of laptop or phone to buy.  Chances are that most people rely heavily on what others say about those products.  If I get online and am looking at laptops and see that one has a 2 star rating vs. one that has a 4.5 star rating, I will automatically rule out the 2 star laptop and look closer at the 4.5 star product.  I trust what other people have to say about a product they have used. Today, this is how most people shop.  So when “shopping” for a new employee, why wouldn’t you want to know what their past employers and coworkers say about them?  It is critical information that can lead to a more informed decision. When I make an important decision, I want to have as much information as possible.

Another important part of a reference check is asking the candidate to complete a survey about themselves.  This is basically having them be their own reference.  This will show the employer how honest that candidate is as well as their degree of self-knowledge. The potential employer will be able to match the candidate’s responses with the responses of their references.  If a candidate ranks him/her self a 5 as a “hard-worker,” but their two past employers gave them a 1 or a 2, that will alert the potential employer that more information is needed before a decision can be reached.  The last thing an employer wants is to hire someone who must be let go a month later for an issue that could have been seen had a reference check been conducted prior to the hiring.   

Another great part of using RefLynk and conducting thorough reference checks is that it shows the legitimacy of your business. It demonstrates that a business is serious and professional when the hiring process is not only quick and efficient but thorough as well.  If I was someone applying for a job and saw that they did not ask for reference checks, I would feel like the company may not be very serious or care very much about the workplace safety.  If they did have a reference check process, but it was unorganized and inefficient, I might be reluctant to accept a position there. However, if I was a candidate and saw RefLynk and how efficient and serious it was, that would influence me to want to work for the company even more. It is a very professional software, and it completes a very important part of the hiring process much faster than any previous process.

Who should be reference checked? Throughout this entire article, the classic example that has been addressed has been the traditional reference check of a potential new employee.  Of course, that is the type of reference check that RefLynk usually completes, but we would like to point out  that we, as humans, are constantly reference checking in our daily lives.  Earlier in this post, I brought up the example of buying a new laptop or phone. Simply comparing the two by looking at product reviews online is a form of reference checking. While looking at the reviews, I am sure that many people want to know how fast the product can be shipped? How well it will be packed? How helpful is the company’s Customer Service Dept.?  Asking these questions and investigating them is a form of reference checking that all consumers do.  Some other examples of times we may reference check in our daily lives are things like: picking a new church, deciding what new restaurant to try, whether to send our kids to private or public schools, or even what new show to watch after work. These decisions are almost always based on what other people say. When picking a new church, we ask members of the congregation about what the church offers. When deciding on a restaurant, we use sources like Google Review or Yelp. When deciding whether to send our kids to private or public schools, we use test scores and feedback from parents.  When deciding what show to watch, we often use social media to ask our friends for recommendations. So if we do all of that work for things as menial as picking a new show or new restaurant, why don’t we put that much effort on performing reference checks on potential employees?

Because this world is ever-changing and technology continues to grow and enhance by the day, it is important to keep up with the times in the business world.  There are constant advances being put in place to procedures easier and more efficient, so it is paramount as a business owner to try to stay as up to date as possible.  With that being said, RefLynk is in that realm of how we change business and adapt to technology.  Reference checking has always been a hiring practice and will continue to be one. Since it is so important, why not use a reliable, technologically advanced system that not only makes the process quicker and more efficient, but also ensures a great reference-checking platform? Because the business scene is constantly evolving, processes continue to evolve. Why not try to save time wherever you can? Even though reference checking is one of the most important factors in business growth, RefLynk allows for it to be done more quickly saving your company tons of time and money.

          Reference checks are not only vital to business development, but they are also crucial in forming a healthy workplace.  An interview and a resumé can show an employer a lot about a candidate, but those alone they cannot show exactly who that person is and what kind of employee they will be.  A reference check gets insider information about a person that an interview and resumé might not indicate.  Now, if all three of these services are together, then that will give the employer a more accurate idea of who they are hiring.  And since these reference checks are so important, why not do it as thoroughly as possible while still being the most efficient you can be? It is key to be efficient, but also to be comprehensive. RefLynk software enables both and will work for your business.  If you are interested in RefLynk, we would be happy to show you the system in a demo.  You can sign up for that demo at  

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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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Are References Real?


Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is keep it to a minimum. No one has ever eliminated any of that stuff.

– Allen Greenspan-  

“How do I know that a reference that a candidate provides is real?”   This is a question that we at SafeHiring get asked by approximately 60% of those that are considering using Reflynk to automate the reference checking process.  I always answer this question with a question. Yes, I know that can be annoying. “How do you conduct reference checks right now?” I already know that answer to this question because it is one of two ways:

  • By phone

  • By not checking them at all

I then will follow that question up by asking, “How do you currently validate the candidate’s references?”  Generally, the answer is, “We do not.”

Validating a reference can be extremely difficult and time consuming.  Some simple suggestions to protect and defend against Reference Fraud are:

  • Ask for a greater number of references - both professional and personal - This forces the candidate to dig deeper in their list of contacts to create a larger data set.

  • Perform some “prework” on the submitted references - This can be as simple as conducting a quick Google Search of the company or the person. You can also use a tool such as LinkedIn.  

Although LinkedIn is a powerful tool, it is not guaranteed 100% accurate.  Other business networking sites are:

  • Ask a greater number of questions per reference - Much like the approach above, this creates a larger data set.

  • Vary the types of questions asked - Create different competency groups in your question groupings.  Phrase the same question differently and ask in different parts of the session.

  • Conduct a random reference audit - Depending on the volume of candidates that an organization has, every 30 or 60 days reassign and reconduct the reference check using the same question set.  

  • Automate the reference checking process - By automating the reference checking process, an organization can easily and efficiently implement the above suggestions without increasing the time and/or effort to conduct the check.   

First Generation Automated Reference checking platforms use email to conduct reference checks.   More current platforms are now utilizing Mobile Texting and/or email to conduct  reference checks and have many more options in formatting the requested information.   These platforms will not truly validate the reference, but they will collect valuable information to help you validate such as:

  • Duplicate contact information

  • Time stamps of when responses were given

  • Accurate aggregation of data

As stated above, at this point, there is really no way to completely validate reference information regardless of how an organization conducts reference checks.  There is, however, more and more technology that is being developed (BlockChain) that could eliminate any instance of Job Fraud or Resume Fraud.

Learn more about RefLynk.

Go with Your Gut or Not


*** Disclaimer*** This is going to be an atypical post for this forum’s normal content.  There may be some statements/opinions that may or may not contradict past posts, but this post will also touch on a subject that to some may seem atypical while being more typical than we may have realized.

I attended the International Youth Protection Symposium October 17,2017 in Indianapolis.   The symposium was put on by Kiwanis International and Boy Scouts of America.  Our partner company SafeHiring Solutions was a sponsor, and so I attended as representative of both Reflynk and SafeHiring Solutions.  

 The second speaker of the day was Jason Lee.   Jason told a gut wrenching story of being targeted by a sexual predator in Alabama from the years of 1986-1992. He was only 12 years old at the time. He spoke in great detail about the horrific experience, and how he turned that experience into a lifelong crusade advocating for justice for child abuse survivors.   Jason founded the 30is30 foundation and I would encourage anyone that reads this to visit that site and be prepared for a reality check that will be like a punch in your gut. Toward the end of Jason’s talk, he spoke of the pillars that his foundation recommends youth organizations to follow in implementing a process that protects our youth.   

These pillars consist of:

  • Reporting Processes

  • Documentation

  • Screening

  • Training

There were even more pillars, but the one that really hit home was simply a reminder to “Trust your Gut”.   I normally write in this forum about HR and Recruiting best practices and the value of using data in making more informed hiring decisions rather than simply “Trusting your Gut.”   The explanation of the phrase was simple. If there is anything that does not feel right; act upon that feeling! I have preached long and loud about the power of data and taking the emotion out of the recruiting process and I will continue to do so. However, I found this reliance on data contradicted with what I believe in HR and Recruiting because of the talk given by a child sexual abuse victim.  After giving his comments much thought, I see a larger application in the pillar “Trusting your Gut.”  I have written in the past about digging deeper through automation.  Automation can and will greatly increase the amount of information collected about a candidate; whether that be for employment or for a volunteer opportunities.  

After reading this post, you may be thinking, How can this guy (me) draw a comparison between child sexual abuse to using technology in HR and Recruiting?  These two topics may seem far apart, yet they are very similar in terms of outcomes that can significantly impact one’s life. I cannot fully understand the lifelong effects of sexual abuse on a child, but I do know the long-term effects on an organization when bad hiring decisions are made.   

My goal in writing this was not to compare the damage of child sexual to the damage of hiring a misfit.   Instead, I want to encourage potential employers that sometimes you must “Trust your Gut” and dig deeper for further information in order to make a fully informed decision.   I would encourage all of you to look at Jason’s story, read it, and get involved.  

Who Should Be Reference Checked?


Reference checking is the process of vetting an individual, group of individuals, or service to qualify for an opportunity.    That definition is extremely broad and raises many questions.  The simple interpretation is a belief that past experiences will predict future behavior. Learning about past experiences is nothing more than informal reference checking.  

Many of us reference check every day without even realizing that we are actually checking references. Here are a few nontraditional, informal situations in which you are reference checking:

  • Picking a Church

  • Picking a Travel/Club Sports organization for your child

  • Picking a Restaurant

  • Buying anything for the first time online from a retailer

  • Buying anything from Ebay

  • Using Uber

  • Picking a Contractor

I think you understand the point I’m making.  Let’s dig a bit deeper into each one of these nontraditional examples.

  • Picking a Church-  first thing that many will do is ask multiple members about church leadership, facilities etc…   Facebook

  • Picking a Restaurant- Yelp

  • Buying anything for the first time online from a retailer-   reading the reviews- ie. Amazon

  • Buying anything from Ebay-  Feedback rating

  • Using Uber-  Driver star rating

  • Picking a Contractor-  Home Advisor

Using the above nontraditional examples, you can see that reference checking plays is a huge component in our everyday lives.  In the same manner, giving references is vitally important in helping others make informed decisions.  We all use data, even if we do not realize it, but we all value as much data as we can process.  The nontraditional examples above are nothing more than ongoing reference checks put into a format that is easily accessible.  

The question of “Who Should Be Referenced Checked?”  perhaps should read “Who, If Anyone, Is Not Reference Checked?”

Learn more about RefLynk

Are You Conducting Exit Interviews?


The life cycle of an employee within an organization normally will consist of the following stages:

  • Application

  • Candidate

  • Vetting

  • Hire

  • On-Boarding

  • Career Development

  • Advancement

  • Resignation or Termination

  • Exit Interview

This cycle is relatively standard across most careers in multiple verticals whether it be professional or unskilled.   

Vetting and Exit Interview:  Both stages are vitally important to the employment cycle. A careful examination of employee turnover rates in multiple industries reveals that vetting and the exit interviews both serve similar purposes and share similar components.   Part of the Vetting process that is often overlooked is reference checking.  Reference checking is nothing more than gathering data on a candidate from multiple sources.  Methods used for reference checking are:

  • Phone

  • Face to Face

  • Email

  • Mobile Texting

Technology has advanced in such a way that reference checking can now be automated to save time and gather more in-depth data on the candidate.  

The exit interview is similar in purpose to the reference check and can be carried out using the same methods.  The exit interview normally takes place as the last stage when a current employee transitions to a former employee.   There are many possible reasons why an employee leaves a position. Whether leaving voluntarily or involuntarily, the key issue is WHY the employee is leaving.   It is vitally important that the employer discover why the employee is leaving. This information is a must for an employer to collect and process in order to identify any patterns in turnover.   Of particular interest is the possibility that the employee and the job were a mismatch from the very beginning. If so, the employer can use information learned from the exit interview to tweak the hiring process. Perhaps the employment interview didn’t target the needed skills, or there was a fail in the vetting stage.

Common methods used for conducting exit interviews are basically the same as those used for Reference Checking:

  • Phone

  • Face to Face

  • Email

  • Mobile Texting

Phone-  historically the most common method.  Issues include:  time suck, cooperation of the former employee, information often limited because of the very nature of a phone conversation.

Face to Face-  historically the second most common method used for interviews.  Issues include:  awkwardness on both the interviewer and interviewee. There is always the possibility that the interviewee’s responses are less than honest.

Email-  becoming more popular because of potential increases in time savings and candid feedback; therefore, may get more transparent or real data. Email also offers the interviewer an opportunity to ask more questions.  Issues include the acceptance and participation of the exiting employee. There is also the possibility that emails can get lost in the volume of emails received.

Mobile Texting-  Just now becoming acceptable by business standards. It is exceptionally accessible because texting reaches the former employee “where they live” i.e. their mobile phone.  

The common theme in Reference Checking and Exit Interviews is:  DATA.   The increase in amounts of data that can be collected in an efficient manner is vitally important in making informed decisions both the hiring and exiting processes. Automating these processes can lead to increased amounts of data which will, in turn, lead to much-improved processes.

How Many References Can I Request?


“How many references can I request when doing a reference check?” is a common question that gets asked every day.  The answer depends on a number of factors:

  • Is this for employees, applicants, volunteers, vendors, or visitors?

  • What is the candidate going to be doing?

  • What is the objective of the reference check?

  • What method(s) are you going to use to obtain the references?

  • Is this for employment or a volunteer opportunity?

In most cases, the types of questions that are asked for a prospective employee reference check will contain specific “required” questions of previous employers.  These questions will require factual answers. For example, “When did you work with this candidate?” or “In what capacity did you work with the candidate?”

There normally would be 3-4 of these types of questions to validate the source of the reference.  If this were a volunteer opportunity, the number of factual questions required would be much less- if any at all.  The general idea of volunteer reference checks is to determine if the applicant is qualified and has relevant experience.  

What is the candidate going to be doing?

If the candidate is going to be working with sensitive information such as finances, then there is a need to gather more information regarding character, knowledge, and necessary skills.  If the applicant is going to be working with children or with diverse populations, deeper information is needed. Such an applicant has to be a fit with a history of displaying appropriate behavior, temperament, and cultural awareness.  

What is the objective of the reference check?

Is the objective of a reference check to gather more data about the applicant in order to make a more informed hiring decision, or is the reference check being done to simply check the box that says a reference check is complete?  A reference check should be completed for the purpose of gathering increased data on the candidate/applicant.  Using that information to make a more informed decision increases the value of the organization as a whole.  If reference checking is being done to simply satisfy a process, then it will be a waste of time.  Data abuse or ignorance during the hiring process is one of the largest factors in creating a high turnover within an organization.  

What method(s) are you going to use to obtain the references?

Many think that there is only 1 way to obtain references- phone.  Not true. There are many ways to obtain information. They are:

  • Phone

  • Mail

  • Personal interview

  • Email

  • Text

  • Video

All of the above are acceptable means of gathering information. The method that is chosen depends on the time that is allocated to reference collecting.  When using phone, mail, personal interview or video, 4 to 6 questions are normally asked because of the time that it has taken to arrange these meetings. Cold calling doesn’t usually yield plentiful or satisfactory results.

An automated process for gathering references allows for many more questions to be asked and much more data to be collected. It is an efficient use of time and doesn’t require the need for pre-arranged appointments.  What is lost when there isn’t personal interaction and interpretation will be gained in the amount of data that can collected. The convenience of automation allows for an increased number of questions to be asked of references. This means there will be increased information available to potential employers.

Matching the method used to check references to the requirements and skills needed for the position will provide your organization a strong foundation for building a compatible workforce.

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data”

Daniel Keys Moran

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.

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.

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.

Can I Text My References? - Of Course!

  • Adults 18-24 years old send and receive over 128 texts every day.

  • Adults 25-34 years old send and receive over 75 texts every day.

  • Adults 35-44 years old send and receive over 52 texts every day.

  • Adults 45-54 years old send and receive over 33 texts every day.

Over the years, we have spoken to Human Resource professionals and Volunteer Coordinators that have stated that reference checking is one of, if not the most laborious aspect of their jobs.  In fact, there many companies that have discontinued reference checking due to multiple reasons (none of which are valid reasons based on best practices).  The reason that continues to be a front runner is:  Time

  • “All I do I is leave voicemails”.

  • “I cannot get the reference to call me back”.

  • “I sent them an email”.

The problem is not the concept of reference checking; it is the method.  Technology has advanced in the communication world in such a way that it is virtually impossible for someone not to know who is trying to contact them using any mode e.g. telephone, email, text.

If you are working at your job and the phone rings, are you going to answer if it is not a familiar number?  My guess- No.

If you are working at your job and an email notification pops up from an unfamiliar email address, are you going to stop what you are doing to open it, let alone respond?  My guess is- No. At best you will file it away among the other 350  “nonurgent” emails that you received that day.  The average employee receives over 121 emails each day.

That leaves the last option:  Text

Looking at the texting statistics above tell the story. Nearly 90% of Americans have cell phones with 77% of that 90% owning a smartphone.

General conclusion: Everyone has a cell phone and everyone texts. Texting takes place at work, for work, on the commute, at home, at school, at soccer games, at lunch, on breaks, etc.

If I want to communicate with my kids, I send a text; I text my wife for a grocery list;  I text my mom the address to a soccer game; text a picture to my college buddies.  What do these activities have in common?  None of these are business-related activities . . . but wait!  I had a client last week ask me to, “Shoot me over your contact information to my cell.”  My wife, a Certified Real Estate Appraiser, communicates all day via text with her management companies and clients .

Texting is:

  • Immediate

  • Short

  • Effective

  • Efficient

Technology allows texting from multiple platforms; thereby, shifting the acceptable business communication methods paradigm.  For example:

Canvas - a revolutionary recruiting platform that utilizes texting to candidates.  

Reflynk - a revolutionary automated reference checking platform that utilizes mobile text and/or email to conduct reference checks.

SafeVisitor Solutions - a comprehensive visitor management platform that has multiple features that will notify using mobile texting.

So, can I Text My References? YES! if you want to get results. Fish where the Fish are as Communicate How the World Communicates.  

What is the Cost of a Reference Check?

What seems to be a simple question, can actually be very difficult and complex to answer. Are you asking . . .

●     what is the price of a reference check?

●     what is a reference check worth?

●     what is the value of a reference check?

●     what is the cost of a reference check?

This is where it gets tricky and will test your patience as you ferret out what the actual question is asking.  Let’s start with definitions:

●     price - the amount of money required to purchase something

●     worth - an expected selling price of a good or service over time

●     value - the usefulness or desirability of a good or service

●     cost - an amount of ??? that has to be given up in order to get something

Price vs Cost:  Price might or might not equal Cost depending on viewpoint.

For example:

“What is the price of a reference check?”  The asker is wanting an answer in $$$$.

“What is the cost of a reference check?”  The asker could be wanting to know a $$$ amount or the cumulative “cost” which involves the total time spent performing the check, the cost of the method used, etc.  

Value vs Worth:  Likewise, Value might or might not equal Worth depending on the viewpoint of the asker.

“What is the value of a reference check?”  This question can have many interpretations.  Rarely would or should this question be answered using a $$$ amount; rather, this question needs to be answered with a detailed explanation of the advantages vs. the disadvantages of performing a reference check.  After determining the specifics of the information desired in the reference check, a Value Cost in $$$ can be derived.

“What is a reference check worth?   Again, similar to using Value, this question can be very complex based on the information provided or the information already known.  Worth is normally measured over time,  therefore, the time is an element of consideration. A $$$ amount can be assigned to Worth, but only after calculations are analyzed over time, based on numerous business factors across multiple segments.

Looking back, the question of “What is the Price of a Reference Check?” can be as simple or as complex as the situation dictates. In most instances the asker may not know the many components that go into determining the correct answer. They are simply wanting a quick $$$ amount. 

At a glance, the questions below . . .

●     What is the price of a reference check?

●     What is a reference check worth?

●     What is the value of a reference check?

●     What is the cost of a reference check?

all seem to be asking the same thing, but in reality, they are four completely different questions with four completely different answers.

Learn how RefLynk can automate your Reference Checks