More recently companies seem to be neglecting proper reference checks, because in the midst of the hiring process it can be very tempting to brush reference checks aside and regard them as just a formality. However, conducting reference checks should be one of the most important steps in your hiring process. Past performance is usually the best indicator of future performance, so you should seize the opportunity to communicate with past supervisors and coworkers who can help you determine if the candidate is the best fit for your job.
Reference checking helps eliminate the risk of a bad hire and all of the costs associated with selecting the wrong candidate for the job.
Why You Should Perform Reference Checks:
When you like everything you’re hearing from a potential candidate, checking references may seem like a hassle. Your gut feeling says the candidate is telling the truth, so shouldn’t you just believe them and move on? No. In a competitive job market resume fraud is at its highest, and candidates have perfected the ability to embellish details about their previous employment. Using a reference check to verify employment dates and titles, and talk to past coworkers and supervisors can provide valuable information that might prove critical when it comes time to make your hiring decision.
Checking references is your best means of verifying the skills and experiences the candidate claims to possess.
How To Conduct a Thorough Reference Check:
Compile a list of questions to ask references based on the job description of the position you’re hiring for. These should be a combination of questions addressing behavioral skills, such as reliability and teamwork, and task based questions like computer skills and the ability to complete projects. Ask the same questions to each reference to collect similar information to compare between job candidates.
It’s also very important to know who the reference is that you’re talking to. A candidate could have given you any name and any phone number. You could be talking to a friend or family member posed as a former supervisor. In order to make sure you’re talking to a real previous supervisor, ask questions about the referee’s specific title, when they worked together, etc. If you get a vague answer, don’t be afraid to probe further and clarify the response.
Verify that the information the applicant gave you during the interview is correct in terms of projects they worked on, level of responsibilities they had, and education and training completed.
Don’t move forward with a candidate that has too many red flags after talking with their references.
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