“Reference checks” are a staple in employment background screening programs. Whether performed internally by HR departments, or fulfilled by third-party screening companies, background checks are the standard method for confirming previous employment, professional capabilities and personal character. The paradox is this: As a result of litigation trends, traditional reference checks have become a drain on budgets and resources while returning ever-diminishing organizational value. Dates of employment and positions held don't offer much intelligence to go on!

The verifications process has deteriorated into a costly, labor-intensive act of due diligence that delivers little information and correspondingly little value for making informed hiring decisions. The net result is increased levels of both man hours and frustration, for lower returns of informational value.

The ultimate goal of the background screening process is to increase the probability of hiring the right person. While verification of basic facts such as dates of employment and positions held is useful information, it takes considerably more to gain an understanding of how well a candidate will fit into your organization and predict on-the-job success.

Verification of requisite skills, cultural values and sensitivity, manageability, leadership, and follow-through - key intrinsic candidate characteristics - can serve to elevate the hiring process from simply the placement of “warm bodies” to the development of a first-class organization. To provide a complete picture, these characteristics need to be assessed and quantified from different perspectives; those of supervisors, co-workers and peers. Such in-depth evaluation and multi-level knowledge is completely missing from the traditional verifications process.

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