Four quick and easy pointers when reference checking

A few months ago The Reference Specialists provided a list of five tips to conducting a thorough reference check. Reference checking may seem like an easy process but there are significant hurdles to overcome to ensure a complete, thorough and informative reference check is completed. Below are another four easy tips to consider to ensure the process runs appropriately.

  • Confirm everything.

Confirming details that can be checked through human resource departments or other sources such as Linkedin is a vital part of conducting a thorough reference. Confirming things such as dates, length of tenure, title and why the candidate left the business can provide you with useful information. Checking this information against other sources or against what you already know will lead to a more complete picture of the candidate’s suitability for the role.

  • Provide anonymity if requested.

At times referees may ask for anonymity before conducting a reference check. Perhaps that individual doesn’t want their name used specifically or maybe the referee works for an organisation that doesn’t allow their employees to give official references (which is becoming more common). In any event a referee should always be provided anonymity if requested. Having the reassurance of anonymity (from the candidate as well as others outside the hiring organisation) can often yield more truthful answers during the reference checking process.

  • Take detailed notes.

When speaking to a referee do not rely on your memory to write the reference, take detailed notes. Failing to take notes can lead to incomplete or lacking information when attempting to write the report. An easy way to get around this if writing notes quickly isn’t easy for you is to use a recording device to refer to later. If recording, always get the referees permission first.

  • Use reference checks as the end of the process.

While information can be gained from conducting reference checks it is essential that they are the last step in the hiring process before an offer is sent out. Generally speaking reference checks are often used to confirm information as well as gain new information. Not to mention that conducting reference checks for three candidates under consideration can be a timely and costly affair.

Reference Checking is a useful tool to gain and confirm vital information from an external source about your prospective candidate before you decide to employ (or not employ) them. Using the above tips will help ensure the process is as informative and accurate as possible. Used in conjunction with the five tips provided two months ago will yield the best results possible from the reference checking process.