How to Reference Check like an expert

February 11, 2016

 

 

Checking a candidate's references is the most effective way to verify a candidates skills and experience. One of the most important parts of the recruitment process is ensuring that reference checks are carried out before a job offer is made. Since past performance is the best indicator of future performance, verifying a candidates skills and experience with a former employer will give any employer peace of mind with their hiring decision.

We see all too often hiring managers making decisions in regards to candidates without doing their due diligence and verifying the facts presented in the interview or on paper. These shortcuts almost always lead to high turnover, lost time, poor team morale, not to mention the financial costs involved in the re-hire.  

At Trayne Consulting we use competency based reference checking questions to ensure clients get all the information they need to make an educated decision about their choice of candidate. We are also flexible in our approach, including the addition of tailor-made questions specific to each role to really find the right candidate for your business. 

To help hiring managers avoid costly mistakes, we've collated some tips below to get you started and to help avoid the most common pit falls. Still feel overwhelmed? At Trayne Consulting, our team of experienced recruiters know how to ask those difficult questions and probe for the information needed to make the right choices, plus most importantly read between the lines of what is actually not being said by the referee. To see how we can help further visit our pre-employment verification page or email us now. ​

 

 

Tips for Successful Reference Checking

 

1.  Conduct at least 2 verbal reference checks
 

Before you hire anyone new into your team you should carry out two verified reference checks. What do we mean by verified?? When conducting your reference check, clearly establish the working relationship between the candidate and the referee and where possible always speak to a previous manager or superior as opposed to a peer who may also be a friend. Do a quick background check on your referee - LinkedIn is a great way to quickly confirm a referees details, provided they have their profile up-to-date, alternatively contact them directly through the company or simply verify their position with the receptionist prior to phoning. This eliminates any doubt you could have been given a false contact. If one of the two reference checks is faultless and the other mediocre or negative, you should certainly look into conducting a third reference check to ensure you resolve any discrepancies.

 

2.  Ascertain what you really want to know and develop your questions around that.

 

When conducting a reference check there are four areas of questioning you want to cover - performance, behavioral, motivational and technical (skills related to the role). Avoid closed questions when developing these and ask for examples wherever possible.

One way of doing this is to replicate the questions you asked in the interview. Reflect on the skills you require (the position description) as well as the core competencies and key performance indicators for the current vacancy and probe the referee for specific examples of how the candidate performed these tasks in their previous roles and what the outcomes were.

 

3.  Be consistent

 

Once you've assertained the questions you want to ask, be consistent and ask these same questions of all referees for each candidate to gain a clear understanding and eliminate any bias  when reflecting back on the details afterwards. Develop a reference check template or better still contact Trayne Consulting to assist you develop a reference check template suitable for your business. 

 

4. Be receptive

 

Write or type your referees responses in their words whilst your talking to again eliminate your own bias from the conversation. You may be really keen to offer that 'perfect' candidate the job straight up, but justifying a referees negative comments by glossing over the details or 'rewording' what has been said to suit you,  may just cost more than you bargained for down the track. Listen to what is being said and know when to ask the questions to probe further. Our team are the experts asking those difficult questions and are here to help, simply visit our pre-employment verification page or email us now. ​

5. Be aware of your legal requirements

 

Under the Privacy Act, a candidate can apply to see any notes and records made about them during the recruitment process. Ensure you keep all of your recruitment process details on file in an ordered manner and that all recorded information is not embarrassing or discriminatory should you need to disclose this in the future. Details pertaining to a candidates physical appearance, parental or carer responsibilities or personal beliefs they have shared in an interview, for example, should not be recorded for this purpose. Also advise your referees that you will be recording the information they share and keeping it on file.

 

Should you need further advice or assistance developing a reference check template suitable to your business or undertaking your reference checks and pre-employment verifications contact us today for confidential, professional, expert advice. 


Happy Recruiting..
 

 

 

 

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