Automation: Complement, Don't Compete

Posted on 29 September 2016 by Lee Seymour in Human Resources

Today’s workplaces are increasingly “going paperless”, with a growing number of organisations opting for cloud-based solutions to offer secure and systematic business processes. The HR industry is no different when it comes to basic processes such as file storage and sharing but other, arguably more critical, practices are still stuck in the past.

This is certainly what we’ve seen with reference checking, which is often still conducted via phone, reliant on referee availability for a call, recorded via written notes during the discussion and subsequently typed up. The man-hours required make it inefficient, the margin for human error makes it unreliable, and the scope for loss of information or unrestricted data sharing make it a huge privacy risk.

When speaking at an Australasian Talent Conference (ATC) earlier this year, I discussed my perceptions of the way in which automation will (or at least should) take a primary role in transforming the industry. I shared my experience of starting Xref, which I introduced with co-founder Tim Griffiths, as a means by which to navigate the risks associated with tradition reference checking methods.

At Xref’s core is automation, and a guarantee of fast, reliable and secure information sharing that will benefit recruiters and candidates alike. We ripped the existing reference checking process apart and provided, in its place, something genuinely useful for the industry.

Importantly, we made one particularly significant move, we put the candidate at the heart of the process. While they would previously have been deliberately kept at arm’s length during this background checking phase, Xref gives candidates the power to drive the process forward, recognising that, without references winning that dream job will be delayed.

So, we speed things up with the candidate but we also, of course, make life easier for the hirer. Loosing ideal candidates while checking references will be a thing of the past, reduced turnaround times give employers more power to make quick decisions, which can be particularly important when hiring for executive level roles.

However, one of the most significant benefits of the solution is the data collected. When you make a hiring decision based on an Xref report you’re not relying on a gut feeling, you have solid data to compare with your shortlist of candidates or even with thousands of others who have answered the same question around the world. It’s collected, analysed and shared in a digestible format.

That said, automation should not stop human intervention, it should complement it.  Any automated business process should be layered with the opportunity for a professional and expert in the field to add value. That’s what Xref does – it saves time by taking the legwork out of the hirer’s hands and adds a layer of security that simply cannot be met without a secure platform, but it doesn’t stop recruiters or HR managers from making follow up calls to confirm details shared by referees if necessary. It helps the professional do their job better, it doesn’t replace them.

As I mentioned in my conclusion at the ATC conference, when you’re looking to implement automation at any level of your business, make sure you look at the development road map. You and your business are going to have changing requirements, you’re going to need automation to support you in ways you’re not aware of right now and it’s important that you can change, and adapt at the rate of your market. .

With Xref, our clients are now hiring better people more often with usable, insightful data – and at the heart of this transformation is automation. 

Before becoming Xref CEO, Lee spent 17 years working in recruitment across various industries, developing a deep understanding of the demands and pain points of the employment market. A serial entrepreneur with a determination to streamline business practices, Lee has also been at the forefront of multiple other technologies and recruitment organisations that redefine processes, build brands and bring positive change to a community.

Lee-Martin Seymour - Executive Director / CEO

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What is Xref?

Xref is a secure, mobile-friendly reference checking platform that significantly reduces time-to-hire and helps protect against candidate fraud.

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