Why You Should Stop Checking References and Start Checking Candidates Instead

Candidate Checking

Ask most companies today about the traditional reference check and they don’t even want to have the conversation. Traditional reference checking has become an annoyance for hiring managers who see the process as a time sink and relegate it to the end of the hiring process. 

The problem with this approach is that if a red flag or inaccuracy pops up at that late stage, the hiring process often must start over - and many high-value “silver medalists” may already be off the market. 

It’s a fact that top talent often stays available for only 10 days before accepting an offer. It’s also true that when a candidate declines an offer, 31% of the time it’s because they already accepted one - usually from a competitor. You snooze, you lose holds true when it comes to securing the best and brightest employees.



How can you reconcile the need for “reference checking” with the just as strong need for speed of hiring - and more importantly, the need for accuracy in hiring? The cost of a bad hire can run up to 30% or more of their salary, yet 74% of hiring managers say they have definitely made bad hiring choices.

The answer may lie in retooling your entire recruitment process. Alternately, your hiring issues might be resolved simply by making a single, cost-effective change with the potential for a massive return on investment. That simple change is candidate checking with Crosschq 360.

[Read More: How to Identify Top Talent]

What Exactly Is Candidate Checking?


Candidate checking turns traditional reference checking on its head. Crosschq 360 doesn’t just take traditional reference checking and tweak it. Instead, it transforms the process, delivering a candidate roadmap that helps you build diverse winning teams - something traditional reference checking can never do. Here are 5 steps to successfully build your candidate roadmaps…

Step 1: Move Candidate Checking Up the Talent Funnel

Since you won’t be spending hours on the phone tracking down references followed by more hours trying to read between the lines to get a real feel for a candidate, you can put candidate checking where it belongs: mid-hiring funnel and well before the interview phase. Crosschq 360 can help achieve two goals simultaneously: reveal red flags so you can eliminate unqualified candidates before the interview phase, and surface high-value candidates whose qualifications may run deeper than their resume indicates.

Step 2: Have Your Candidates Complete a Self-Check

For the first time you can check in with the candidates to hear how they think they match up with the job you’re hiring for. Every Crosschq 360 check-in is tailored for the job posting, with questions formulated by IO psychologists. Your candidate is scored against various skills and attributes needed for the role they are applying for, building a picture of how they see themselves and their readiness to take on new responsibilities.

Step 3: Cross-Check with Former Peers and Managers

Continue building your candidate roadmap by reaching out to the people who have past experience working with your candidates and know them best. Their responses to the same questions your candidate self-checked against will help build a clearer Crosschq 360 report. Instead of the mostly useless information provided by a traditional reference check, you gain valuable candidate data sourced from insights only these former coworkers and mentors can provide.

Step 4: Leverage Crosschq For Greater Diversity

The Crosschq 360 approach gives you clear candidate profiles without the unconscious bias often introduced via traditional reference checking. Without this bias blocking qualified candidates from advancing, your organization has a better chance of improving DEIB with culture add candidates. Companies with greater diversity are more innovative and generate greater revenues than companies with less diversity.

Step 5: Utilize Your Candidate Roadmaps For Onboarding

The data that Crosschq 360 delivers on your candidates not only helps you select the best people to fill open positions but gives you valuable data and insights into how you can nurture them during onboarding and beyond. You’ll know from the day they start where their strengths and weaknesses lie and can provide L&D to shore up any skills gaps. This can generate instant employee loyalty and help new hires feel like they are in an environment where they can thrive and advance their careers.

Interview Scores to QoH

Traditional Reference Check vs. Crosschq 360

When it comes to a side-by-side comparison, Crosschq 360 beats traditional reference checking hands down. 

Traditional reference checks:

  • Take three hours on average per candidate
  • Take 4-10 business days to complete
  • Cost an average of $144 per candidate
  • Provide adequate information less than 25% of the time
  • Are often contaminated by unconscious bias

Crosschq 360’s automated, digitized candidate-checking solution:

  • Reduces time to initiate and complete checks by 95%
  • Takes only 2 days to complete
  • Costs only $4-$8 per candidate
  • Delivers a holistic view of each candidate’s skills and attributes
  • Prevents unconscious bias thanks to preset questions and scoring
  • Reduces time-to-hire by 2-8 business days

Using Crosschq 360 eliminates the song and dance routine that is traditional reference checking, replacing an outdated, inefficient, and non-productive process with the new and improved option of candidate checking. 

Only Crosschq gives you the power to create more diverse, cohesive, and winning teams through candidate checking. By building candidate roadmaps, you not only gain insights into the employees you end up hiring but create a dossier on high-value potential future candidates as well.

In addition, Crosschq 360 integrates seamlessly with your existing ATS and other recruitment tools, platforms, and systems that your hiring managers already use. The rest of the Crosschq suite of products can help you further improve your workforce and future-proof it against employee churn and the skills gaps of tomorrow.

Crosschq Recruit


Need to fill seats fast with qualified candidates? Crosschq Recruit gives you access to a talent pool of opt-in workers who are pre-screened and checked so all you have to do is select the ones who fit your job profile. It’s a rapid pathway to confident hiring to make your organization stronger. A whopping 80% of Crosschq customers end up hiring through Recruit in their first 90 days with us.

TalentWall™ by Crosschq

Having trouble getting hiring managers and recruiters on the same page? TalentWall™ by Crosschq overlays your ATS, with bidirectional, real-time updates so everyone in your organization can see how hiring is going. It’s the ideal tool for companies to improve their hiring process through collaborative recruiting, with complete transparency into a fully visible pipeline.

Crosschq Analytics



Recruitment isn’t over when the offer is accepted. Onboarding and nurturing your new hires is what will keep them from becoming a churn statistic. One in five new employees quit in their first 45 days on the job, and that number jumps to one in three over the first six months. 

Crosschq Analytics lets you keep checking in with candidates after they become employees, helping you spot issues and step in to retain good talent. It also tracks which hires work out the best, helping you plan for and achieve more success in future rounds of hiring.

Are you ready to flip the script, start checking candidates instead of references, and improve both speed of hire and quality of hire? Contact us for a free Crosschq demonstration today. 

Take the Guesswork out of Hiring

From pre-hire to post-hire, Crosschq helps you source, screen, onboard, and measure the best talent. Fast.

Request a free demo from a team expert to see how we can help your company. 

Debra Carney

Director of Marketing

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Topics from this blog: Reference Check Products Talent Acquisition Automation


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