We would like to issue a sincere apology to Alexander Graham Bell. His great invention - the phone - has become increasingly obsolete. Since the introduction of the smartphone, “phone avoidance” has spread - people prefer sending emails or texts rather than giving others a call and enjoy the convenience of ordering a pizza online.
We cannot deny that texting and using chatbots to order pizza are both incredibly useful in daily life… but is written communication more beneficial when conducting references?
Written communication has its merits. People can communicate with each other regardless of the fact that they may be several time zones away and do not have to worry about whether a person is available or not.
With all of this in mind, what does the phone have going for it?
It is faster. When it comes to picking up a phone or typing out an email, the phone is the clear winner in terms of speed. Completing a reference over the phone in real time is faster for both parties. The hiring process is long enough - waiting for references to email you back unnecessarily stretches it out.
It reduces ambiguity. One of the largest advantages of conducting reference over the phone is that it gives screeners a greater opportunity to read between the lines. Interpreting the tone, intonations, or attitude behind a contact’s voice allows our screeners to gain a clearer picture of the candidate. In the case of references, the human touch is necessary to provide a high-quality report - we know how to recognize certain subtleties and adjust accordingly.
It is easier to get more details. Completing a reference over the phone breaks the barriers of a typical reference form. Although standard questions are used, the person conducting the reference can identify whether they should probe into a specific area to get more details about the candidate.
Next time you need to conduct references, pick up the phone! Calling references is the most effective way to get high-quality reference reports and efficiently make your hiring decisions.