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Reference Checks, are they really worth it?

In today’s world we openly share our lives and career histories on the internet and websites like Facebook and Linked In. This begs the question, is it really worth completing reference checks when hiring new employees?

For recruiters, one of the most important steps in the recruitment process has always been completing at least 2 reference checks. According to Forbes at least 50% of employers underestimate the value of reference checks, so what are the advantages of completing them?

  • Ability to confirm a candidate’s experience and education
  • Assess the candidates past performance to predict their future performance and to ensure that they are the best fit for the role
  • Can ensure a safe work environment for all employees
  • Helps to gain an insight into the candidate’s skill set from a supervisor
  • Learn of any concerns or worrying behaviours that the candidate has displayed
  • Helps us to find out information that the candidate may have left out
  • Allows for a fair and consistent recruitment process

As with everything there are disadvantages to reference checks as well and some of them are:

  • Getting misleading information from angry or unhappy employers
  • Getting misleading information from biased employers
  • Delays in the recruitment process from not being able to get in touch with references
  • Costs involved in completing reference checks both financial and time

There are numerous ways to complete reference checks. At HR Gurus we we usually conduct them over the phone or over email. Regardless of the way reference checks are completed the same questions are asked and they are scored the same way, this allows for and ensures that there is a fair and consistent process for all candidates.

We have consistently found that the positives of conducting reference checks often out weigh the negatives so we highly recommend continuing the tradition of reference checks combined with other screening methods available.

Written by Recruitment Guru Sarah Hutchinson.

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