Reference checks provide a final validation that your chosen candidate is the right fit for your organisation in terms of performance, corporate culture and personality. Verifying the information provided by job applicants can help ensure that you are hiring trustworthy and honest employees and confirm that they have the credentials to hit the ground running when they join your team. However, checking an applicant’s references is not always as easy as picking up the phone and asking a few questions. You will want to speak to credible sources and make direct inquiries about previous job performance to get the most out of the reference check. Here is how you can get started.
What is a reference check?
A reference check is when an employer contacts an applicant’s previous employers, schools, and other individuals (e.g., personal references) to learn more about the candidate.
Why perform reference checks?
Reference checks help you confirm the information on the candidate’s application form and resumes. You will also gain more significant insights into the candidates’ skills, knowledge, and abilities from someone who has actually observed the candidate perform. Checking references can also help make the onboarding process easier for both the candidate and your company.
Tips for conducting reference checks
Reference checks are an essential part of the hiring process, which is why you will need a few tips on how to conduct them.
- Speak with their direct supervisor. Most candidates put down family members and friends as references. While they can both provide a well-rounded personal image of your candidate, managers, direct supervisors, colleagues, and clients give a truly professional image. Aside from asking about specific performance, it would be best to inquire about the key motivators that keep an employee engaged and high performing. Think about what your team need from this employee. Given what the referee has described, will the candidate sink or swim in your role?
- Ask detailed questions. Begin with preliminary questions about the relationship of the candidate and their reference. These will serve as icebreakers and allow you to gain a clearer understanding of the candidate. Ask behavioural interview questions. These will help identify the patterns in behaviour and thought processes when your candidate encounters various situations. A reference’s response to these questions reveals how your candidate has dealt with the situation, what they learned, and how they corrected their behaviour moving forward. You could reference the resume and be very specific about their role in any mentioned project/position.
- Have the reference rank the candidate. You should have a variety of reference questions prepared when you contact a referee. Some of these might include open-ended, short-answer, and multiple-choice questions that use a scale ranging from 1-10. Requiring the reference to rank the candidate can give you an easy way to get an honest answer from a reference. With ranking questions, the reference has to think about their response because they are only giving a number.
- Provide anonymity. To ensure that the referees provide candid and accurate feedback, stress that this process is anonymous and that the candidate will not have access to their direct reports.
While reference checks can be considered outdated or unnecessary by some, you can gain insight into how to best onboard and support your chosen candidate if you ask the right questions. Majer Recruitment does this for all our clients. Our extensive candidate pool enables us to provide your business with only the best temporary, contract, and permanent talent. So contact us today to get the perfect recruitment solution.