Job References

Reference Checks. Are they worth it?

The short answer is 100% YES!

Reference checks are not only worth it; they are integral to a great recruitment and selection process if done correctly. In saying this, a proper reference check should be comprised of a series of questions that give you the best indication of a candidates past behaviour from a direct manager.

My success as a recruitment specialist over the past nine years stems from the fact that I gather as much information about a candidate as possible before making the decision to present them to a client.

As a bare minimum to make a sound decision you will need a cover letter, resume, results from an interview and a proper ‘Reference Check’. You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve had to turn away after completing a reference check.

I think it’s important to highlight some common mistakes that occur during a reference check.

Firstly, don’t be fooled by someone who can talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s not enough to decide if a candidate is the best person for the job based solely on a CV or an interview. You need to clarify grey areas by asking specific questions about technical and behavioural capabilities.

If a reference check is done correctly it will prove time and time again that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance and this information usually presents itself from a secondary source.

Secondly don’t trust the reference list provided by a candidate’s CV. You need to ask for a direct Manager from each role listed on the CV; not a colleague, friend or someone who doesn’t even know the candidate (No this is not a joke it happens.) Also make sure you get the candidates permission to contact the references! More often than not the employee has not told their boss that they are looking for another job so you need to ask if it is ok to contact the reference first.

Finally, before commencing the reference, you should get the referee’s permission to pass on any information you receive to the candidate if they request this as per Privacy Laws. Once complete a reference check template should be passed onto the client so that they have all the information necessary to make a sound decision.

In short, reference checks are 100% worth it, if they are done correctly! For a free copy of our reference check template please feel free to contact us.

This blog was written by resident HR Guru Tracy Collins

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