“We are now able to go back to the hiring manager and say, "These are the responses we’ve received” and put the reports in front of them with the actual answers from referees.” Lisa Avenoso, HR Administration Assistant at TRN
Results by the numbers
The success rate on reference completion using Xref
Average reference turnaround time
References completed outside of business hours
"Xref is something different for a company like ours, and not in a bad way!"
The main functions of TRN Group are civil contracting, quarrying and haulage. Each division has a role to play, from the Engineers, Project Managers and Surveyors planning the sites from the ground up, to the Foremen and our civil crew that take over and transform open land to residential developments.
We have predominantly used Xref when hiring Plant Operators, Labourers and Truck Drivers. However, we also use Xref for our workshop and office-based roles; such as Plant Mechanics, Engineers, Project Managers, and Surveyors.
What drove you to switch from manual to automated reference checks?
Previously, we used a word document template, populated with questions that are covered when you do a general reference check. It would be a matter of having that document printed, calling the referee, asking the questions and writing down their answers. That was essentially the reference check process.
Reference checking has always been a part of our recruitment process. It's something that we do each and every time, and we make it very clear to applicants when we’ll do it. We conduct a face-to-face interview and let them know that the next stage is reference checking and a pre-employment medical. We let them know that if they progress to the next stage, we'll need the details of their referees so we can conduct those reference checks. It is something that's been embedded in our recruitment process.
However, in our industry, we're dealing with referees that are predominantly based on construction sites that don't necessarily have the capacity to conduct a 10-minute phone call. They're in management positions, so their time is critical. It was always quite a challenge to get their availability and it delayed the process. We got there eventually but it was challenging and time-consuming.
Alison Carroll, our HR manager, first heard about Xref through a friend outside of the organization who had been through the Xref process as a candidate. Alison was intrigued, asked some questions and got some good feedback from that applicant. It essentially came down to a referral.
What was your brief for Xref?
We were looking for convenience and ease of use, not just for our team but for our applicants and their referees too.
Given the challenges of reaching referees in our industry, we needed something that could be accessed at any time and would widen the opportunity to complete the process efficiently.
What has been the outcome of using Xref?
Initially, we did wonder whether or not it would improve the results of the process, given the need to make sure referees had email addresses and were using them. But we were surprised and happy to discover it has been smooth sailing in terms of that user-friendliness.
Alison and I both noticed the difference straight away. Time was freed up and there wasn't a matter of having reference checks printed out with notes saying "Voicemail left on this day". Now, it's something that you set up, you send it off and you leave it up to the referee to respond.
We have also found there is a lot more detail in the reports. Previously, because referees were short for time, calls would just be a five to ten-minute chat and the answers would be quite simple, short and sharp. I, personally, have found the responses have been a lot more detailed. Whether that's because they've had time to sit and look at the questions or they've been able to complete their responses when it's more convenient for them, the quality of responses has definitely been better.
We are now able to go back to the hiring manager and say, "These are the responses we’ve received” and put the reports in front of them with the actual answers from referees. We've noticed that, because of the higher quality of responses, we are able to gauge a better understanding of referees’ comments about applicants’ performance. So, we’re in a better position to make a call on whether they progress to the next stage.
We’ve been really impressed with the fraud detection feature too. That’s not something that we were necessarily able to pick up on, so having it built into the service that Xref offers has been great and really reassuring. We recently received an updated usage report from the team, and it showed zero fraud detection. We thought that was pretty incredible. It's not something that you can be sure of when you're doing reference checks on the phone. Being able to have that as a safety net has definitely highlighted the importance of it and it's quite impressive in how it works.
Xref is something different for a company like ours, and not in a bad way! It's improved our reference success rate and has made the process more efficient and more accurate. I'm glad Alison was an advocate for it because it's changed our recruitment process for the better. It's been really impressive.
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