The Dos and Don’ts of Reference Checking

When it comes to making a hiring decision, reference checks can play a critical role in determining the suitability of a candidate for the role. However, not all reference checks are created equal. In this blog post, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of reference checking to ensure that you get the most out of this important step in the hiring process.

Do: Ask the Right Questions
The purpose of a reference check is to gain additional insight into a candidate’s work history, strengths, and weaknesses. To do this effectively, it’s important to ask the right questions. Some key questions to ask include:

  • Can you describe the candidate’s work performance?
  • What were the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • How did the candidate interact with colleagues and customers?
  • Would you rehire the candidate?

Asking these questions will give you a better understanding of the candidate’s work history and can help you make a more informed hiring decision.

Don’t: Rely Solely on Reference Checks
While reference checks can be an important tool for evaluating a candidate, they should not be the only factor you consider. It’s important to conduct a thorough interview process and evaluate the candidate’s skills, experience, and fit for the role. Additionally, be aware that some references may be biased or have limited knowledge of the candidate’s work history. Use reference checks as one data point in your decision-making process, but not the only one.

Do: Check Multiple References
To get a more complete picture of a candidate’s work history, it’s a good idea to check multiple references. This can include former supervisors, colleagues, and even customers or clients. By gathering feedback from multiple sources, you can get a more well-rounded view of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t: Overlook Red Flags
If a reference raises concerns about the candidate’s work performance or behavior, it’s important to take these concerns seriously. While it may be tempting to overlook red flags in the interest of filling a role quickly, doing so can lead to a poor hire that ultimately costs you time and money. Take the time to investigate any concerns raised by references and use this information to make an informed decision.

Do: Be Respectful and Professional
When conducting reference checks, it’s important to be respectful and professional at all times. This includes scheduling a time that works for the reference, asking open-ended questions, and listening carefully to the answers. Remember that references are taking time out of their busy schedules to provide you with valuable feedback, so be sure to thank them for their time and insights.

By following these dos and don’ts of reference checking, you can ensure that you are making the most out of this important step in the hiring process. Reference checks can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s work history, but it’s important to use this information in conjunction with other data points to make an informed hiring decision.

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