"We have a one-stop-shop for recruitment with Xref and SmartRecruiters"
Xref was very easy to ‘turn on’ in SmartRecruiters. We just switched a button, set up an account and within one day we were up and running. Ben Rynja, National Recruitment Manager
Results by the numbers
It takes, on average, just 17 hours to turnaround references
60% of references are completed outside traditional business hours
Sodexo references now include, on average, 298 words per report
The Xref solution
Industry: Quality of Life Services
Size (number of employees): 425,000
Xref customer since: July 2017
What drove you to switch from manual to automated reference checks?
In the past, our recruitment team spent far too much time on admin. Our processes were conducted manually and the team could end up spending 60 - 70 per cent of their day doing admin-heavy tasks. It added little value and took them away from the broader recruitment role they were employed to do.
Ultimately, every business relies on their HR and recruitment team to find and hire the best people. But they want it done quickly, which adds pressure to get talent through the door and into a role at speed. This leaves recruitment teams with very little time to assess their processes and consider whether they could be doing their job better, with a different approach.
That was the basis for our decision to automate as many aspects of the role as we could.
We recognised that the main reason for our lack of efficiency was our ATS platform, it was outdated and not fit for purpose. We needed a modern alternative that could meet the demands of today’s recruitment role. We wanted something that would act as a one-stop-shop for recruitment and help us measure recruitment spend to ensure all process were cost-effective.
We discovered SmartRecruiters, with its Marketplace of different recruitment solutions providers. It offered automated approaches to the tasks our team were wasting their time on and integrated with a number of additional providers to ensure the entire recruitment lifecycle could be improved.
In addition to better efficiency, SmartRecruiters offered us something we hadn’t seen in alternative solutions — a focus on candidate experience. If we’re going to automate our processes, we need to know they’re adding value to the recruitment journey for all involved. Ensuring our candidates have a good experience when applying for a role with us, is crucial to our ongoing hiring success.
The first task we wanted to address was reference checking, with Xref offered in the SmartRecruiters Marketplace.
To us, Xref just made sense. As well as speed, it would offer our team a level of data analytics and reporting that wasn't possible with our previous approach. We instantly saw the value of the platform, beyond just the time savings it could offer.
What was your brief for Xref?
We needed Xref to improve the lives of our recruiters by adding efficiency to the reference checking task. It had to give them a fast and reliable solution that would allow them to meet the demands of the business with ease and confidence. It also needed to ensure that while the process was done quickly, it was done without risk.
We wanted to free recruiters up to do what they do best - engage and interact with the best talent for our business, form close relationships with hiring managers to understand their needs and ensure we’ve got a deep pool of talent for the future.
What has been the outcome of using Xref?
Xref has been a seamless addition to our newly automated recruitment process. It has enabled our team to significantly reduce the amount of time they spend on a critical but otherwise time-consuming part of that process.
We have a heightened sense of assurance in the data we gather and use for hiring decisions. We’re also now confident that, should a fraudulent candidate make it to the referencing stage, they will be detected and weeded out before it’s too late.
We’re kept up to speed with the progress of outstanding references and can manage the whole process via the SmartRecruiters platform. We are quickly informed of any potentially fraudulent activity and able to act on it with ease. In fact, just two weeks after we’d implemented the platform, we were alerted of a potentially fraudulent candidate who, as it later emerged, had been trying to complete her own references. She would have been hired for a fairly high-profile role that required trust and integrity. I’m not confident that, without Xref, we would have picked up on her deliberate attempts to deceive us.
One of our greatest objections to the adoption of an automated reference checking solution was the fact that it would remove the tone of voice we’d previously relied on during referencing calls. Xref has been met with this objection on other occasions and, as a result, at around the same time we started using the platform, the Xref Sentiment Engine was launched. Our team now benefits from the clear and simple sentiment ratings provided with every reference report. Xref’s nimble and accommodating approach to meeting needs such as this is as technically impressive as it is beneficial to our decision making.
While we may also have been initially sceptical about the turnaround times promised by the team, we now recognise the real value of an online, always-on platform. Arguably the greatest insight we’ve gained since introducing Xref is the benefits of its convenience. Previously our recruiters would have conducted reference checks during their usual working hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday. Now, Xref has allowed us to collect more references between 8pm and 12am on a Sunday evening, than we do between 9am and 12pm on a Monday morning. This really brought home the importance of offering approaches that can operate without the aligned availability of everyone involved.