The importance of reference checking to minimise risk of candidate fraud

Guest Blog from I Screen You Screen (


With the skills gap widening for UK businesses, it seems HR departments and recruiters are willing to take more and more risks in an attempt to fill vacancies. One avoidable risk however is reference checking of candidates to ensure details of the individual’s history can be checked. However, one survey suggests only a third of employers carry out these all-important checks before a new employee starts, with 31% of HR departments stating they are “bogged down” with responding to queries about references.



Maintaining the integrity of your recruitment process

With the current skills shortage in the UK, finding the perfect candidate who fits your job opening is a big achievement, meaning HR departments are often in a hurry to get the candidate on board and close the deal. However, it’s important to remember that reference checking is designed to create the bridge between the hiring and the onboarding process, rather than act as a last-minute addition once everything else is finalised. Without proper and rigorous reference checking, you will reduce the trust and integrity of your company’s recruitment process and could well be caught out by unscrupulous candidates.


Validating previous experience

The information collected during a reference check is vital for validating information provided by the candidate on their CV or in an interview. It is also the only way of clearing up any grey areas which may appear in their application, such as reasons for leaving a past position. A candidate can seem faultless on paper, however gaining insight from previous employers is the best way to truly predict what their behaviour and work ethic will be like once they are employed, as well as validating claims made on their CV.

Reasons for failing to carry out rigorous reference checking can include a lack of training, busy HR schedules and problems with outsourcing to companies who fail to collect all of the correct information. Large companies who recruit hundreds of people every month likely put a great deal of time and effort into reference checking, which means standards and meticulousness can easily slip during the process. However the costs of hiring a wrong candidate because of negligence can far outweigh those of ensuring proper reference checks are undertaken.

Taking control of your reference checking by bringing it back in-house is one way of ensuring it is carried out rigorously, however HR departments are almost always understaffed in this area, which is where bespoke software can be a welcome addition.


Simon Houlton, CEO at reference checking software company I Screen You Screen says:


“A robust checking process is vital in this day and age to ensure applicants are who they say they are and have the experience and qualifications they claim to have. Weeding out unsuitable candidates at an early stage minimises the risk of adverse publicity, saves on re-recruiting, training costs and potential tribunal costs further down the line. We have seen many instances of individuals upgrading their qualifications, exaggerating their previous employment experiences and often completely missing out employments where they might have been dismissed or failed their probationary periods. A thorough screening process should usually remove these candidates from the process at an early stage and allow employers to recruit with confidence.”


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