What is a reference check?
Employers conduct reference checks during the hiring process for making the best selection of candidates. By doing so, they want to ensure that all the information collected from the resume, interviews and other sources is genuine. Not just that, but also from additional information like strengths, weaknesses and working capacities of the candidate, his potential performance in your company can be predicted.
Contacting the right references, setting up the appropriate questions and conducting the process actively with right judgment can produce the best results. Past records about a candidate’s performance and competencies with an employer can help you to determine whether the candidate is suitable for your company or not.
How can employers conduct reference check?
As far as the method of reference check is concerned, most employers conduct it over the phone. They can ask follow-up questions and request further clarification whenever necessary. The other medium is to send email templates and reference letter to the contacts. Feedback collected from these mediums can be saved by the employer for a future reference.
For any method of conducting the reference check, the first vital thing is to acquire the appropriate references from the candidate. The initial application form can be designed to have an option for references. It should also ask for candidate signature for the permission for conducting the reference check.
Questions and Documentation
- Questions should be pre-planned as well as well-phrased. Consistent questions engender a well-defined comparison between the answers/responses from each referee to analyze the overall feedback. Also, preparing the best questions helps to derive the reliable answers that support detailed judgments.
- Record all the necessary information that you obtain from the references. It will help you to look back the records in future and also to communicate it to the hiring manager. It is also significant for protection against negligent hiring claims. Have a look at the following records that you must maintain.
- Name of all references checked
- Name of the person who contacted the references
- Copies of all written feedback
- The number of attempts made to contact the reference and if it was successful
Key points to remember
- Some candidates are not comfortable with reference checks. Therefore, always ask for permission before checking references for a candidate.
- If your company finds reference checks an essential part of the employment process, make it a policy of your company not to hire before consulting 2 or 3 references for a candidate.
- Don’t hesitate to contact candidate’s previous managers or supervisors (if you can have their contact details). Make sure you ask for candidate’s permission for that.
- While checking the references over the phone, also take an account of the tone of the speaker in addition to what he has said.
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