How to Properly and Effectively Check References When Hiring a New Employee

Properly and Effectively check References when Hiring

It’s often brushed off as unnecessary, but checking employee references should always be a key part of the hiring process. You can either handle this step yourself or use employee background screening services, but never send an offer letter without first conducting a thorough reference check.

Having a strict reference check process in place is a must to ensure you know as much as possible about the candidate and their fit for the position

Five Tips for an Effective Reference Check

Set Specific Reference Criteria

All references are not created equal. It’s important to have references who have worked directly with the candidate, because they’re the only ones who truly know the answers to the kind of questions you need to ask.

No doubt, the person’s family and friends would be happy to speak on their behalf, but they’re not objective and they don’t know the professional side of the candidate.

Describe the Job

Every job is different even those with the same title so give the reference a brief description of the position, so they can help gauge the candidate’s fit. This is important, because they need to know the responsibilities associated with the job, so they can advise on whether or not they think the person would be a good fit.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

You won’t learn much about the candidate with “yes” or “no” questions. Just as you did during the job interview, ask the reference open-ended questions to gather as much information as possible. This is important to ensure you don’t miss key facts that could impact your hiring decision.

Talk to at Least Two References

References offer valuable information, but you can’t base your decision on one person’s opinion. It’s important to talk to at least two people, to make sure the information provided is consistent. If multiple people say the same things about the person, you can feel confident their responses are genuine and the candidate’s behavior is the same across the board.

Make Sure References are Authentic

You want to believe candidates wouldn’t provide fake references, but it happens all the time. If possible, make sure the people you’re speaking with are who they claim to be by calling them on a work landline. Take it a step further by sending a request to connect on LinkedIn after the call, with a note thanking them for their time. If it wasn’t them you spoke with, you’ll find out pretty quickly.

Conducting thorough background checks is important, but it’s also very time-consuming. ECS offers a full suite of back-office services to employers and recruiters, because sometimes you really need an extra hand. Get in touch today to discuss a partnership!

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