What happens once a reference is submitted?
And how it might help you hire, too.

Reference feedback becomes data-driven insight when it’s done through SkillSurvey’s Pre-Hire 360 workflow. Here’s a snapshot example of the report that helps recruiters and hiring managers better understand their job candidates.

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Surveying the skills that matter

The surveys are job-specific covering competencies and critical soft skills. 85% of references typically respond and complete the online survey, and most do in under 2 days.

And that leads to one of the most critical parts in the report. We call it “Predictive Analytics” because our research indicates that this data is predictive of whether a candidate will have a successful first year on the job.

Overall Rating Across All References

85% Reference Response Rate (4 of 5 References responded)

We present a summary of the references’ ratings for each of the job specific behavioral competency areas:

Managers Only

All References



Interpersonal Skills


Problem Solving and Adaptability


Personal Value Commitment


Related reading: See our Data-driven Hiring eBook to learn what’s behind these numbers

Reference feedback is confidential

No one can see an individual reference’s ratings, and we group the ratings by relationships.

Candid feedback

But the report doesn’t simply tap the quantitative ratings data. Candid comments in response to open-ended questions on strengths and areas of improvement can be invaluable, too.


  • Kathryn is extremely dependable with no issues with tardiness or absenteeism.
  • Her attention to detail is very strong!
  • Extremely customer driven. She developed a loyal customer base who were willing to wait specifically for her.

Could Improve:

  • Remember that everyone’s mood is contagious – good and bad!
  • Not always as confident in her abilities as she should be.
  • Express concerns before they have time to build up. Tends to hold in and tries to deal with it on her own.

Would you work with this person again?

What could be more straightforward – and revealing – than the response to: “Would you work with this person again?"

83.3% responded “Yes”

5/6 or 83.3% of references responded “yes” when asked if he or she would work with this person again.

16.7% responded “No”

1/6 or 16.7% of references responded “no” when asked if he or she would work with this person again.

What else do we report?


A candidate’s success in a position is based on many factors. We break them down to four key Competency Clusters and give you feedback for each:

1. Professionalism

2. Interpersonal Skills

3. Personal Value Commitment

4. Problem Solving and Adaptability

A) Gather information from relevant sources to effectively resolve problems

B) Make high quality decisions based upon facts and business priorities

C) Tailor recommendations of company products and services

Related reading: See how we assess the soft skills that relate to job success

For management or leadership roles, there are two additional competency areas:

1. Leadership

2. Managing Others

A) Build a strong and diverse team by continually attracting and selecting competent and talented people

B) Provide important and challenging projects to enhance team member’s development

Different positions and industries require different sets of skills and competencies (we have hundreds of job-specific surveys):

This one’s for a sales manager:

Consistently meet or exceed sales goals

And this is for a registered nurse:

Stay up-to-date with trends and apply this to the job

Checks and balances

Our software pinpoints attempts to ‘game’ the system. We flag duplicate or matching IP addresses, it’s a fraud protection process we suggest our recruiting and hiring managers pay attention to.

Reference Phone #: W: 555-555-555

Reference Email: email@GHICompany.com

Reference IP Address: XX.XX.XX.XX

Address inconsistencies immediately

We also draw attention to any inconsistencies in information provided by the candidate and references such as dates of employment, job titles, contact numbers and so on.

References have a value in their own right

References can opt in if they are open to being contacted about new job opportunities with the company who has requested the reference.

References form a strong pool of passive candidates for your organization’s talent pipeline and their profile and contact data is right at your fingertips.

Related reading: Learn how references can build your passive talent pipeline