So the first interviews are done and you have narrowed your job searchers down to just a few choices. This next step in the recruitment process is often purposely left out by managers or interviewers because they are uncomfortable in completing it. This can be a big mistake. A Reference Check will help answer your questions and provide you with the information on the job searcher’s character and work ethic. It is vitally important to verify the information the job searcher has provided you. It is the only way that you can be sure that you are making the right decision.
I am often asked about how to do a reference check. Below are some suggestions on how to do this process properly.
- During the interview, you should ask for three professional references (this would be previous managers or supervisors). I suggest asking for three so that you do not have to go back and ask for more. It is also important to confirm with the job searcher that the references have given permission to include their name on the list.
- My general rule of thumb is that if you get two outstanding references from two different companies; the references are complete. However, if those two references give conflicting information the third reference will help determine which one is more accurate.
- Start your references from the earliest one and work your way to the most current. This will allow you to get information that will progress with the job searcher’s career. Let’s say that the first reference indicated that the job searcher lacked the maturity to properly make decisions. In your second and third references, you can address this specifically to see if there has been a progression in that job searcher’s decision making skills.
- Always make sure that your references are short and to the point. Do not take up too much of the references time.
- The same rules that apply to the type of questions you can ask in an interview apply here. You cannot ask any questions that will infringe on the rights of the job searcher. Be careful and have your questions printed out. It is also important to document the answers to protect yourself from any possible future claims.
Once the reference checks are completed, you may still have some questions. If this is the case, many of my clients will bring the job searchers in for a second interview to help answer any outstanding questions.
A properly conducted reference check is key to determining whether the strengths and weaknesses of a particular job searcher are something you can or cannot work with in your company. Prior to making any offer of employment, you should have this information. If not, you greatly increase the chance that you are setting yourself and the job searcher up for future failure.
Do you conduct reference checks when hiring?