How Important are Reference Checks?
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WHY ARE REFERENCE CHECKS IMPORTANT?
As a Recruiter myself, there have been times where our team have conducted a face-to-face interview with our candidates as well as arranging our client to meet a candidate and then it gets to the reference check stage - all of a sudden red flags are raised or things fall over! This could be related to the candidate's ability to work in a team environment or not having relevant experience as previously proposed, punctuality, poor attitude towards required tasks, overall performance and achievements and much more – You would be surprised!
BENEFITS OF CONDUCTING REFERENCE CHECKS
Other than having the opportunity to verify your candidate's employment history during a reference check, it can provide you with the opportunity for your candidate's current and/or previous employers to give you additional insight and overview of their skills, strengths and weaknesses based on the key selection criteria of the role you are recruiting for as well as their overall work ethic, behaviours and personality.
1. Additional insight relating to the candidate: Specific questions relating to attendance, reliability, KPI’s and ability to work in teams can provide you with an overview from a current or past employer on top of what you have already learnt through interviewing your candidate.
2. A better understanding of candidate’s experiences and skills: Depending on how deep you delve, references can give information to provide you with the ability to align the candidates’ key skills and abilities against the key selection criteria of the position you are recruiting for to ensure they meet the minimum requirement and some.
3. Minimising the risk your company takes while hiring: Recruitment can take a lot of time and money when bringing a new starter on board – completing a reference check can provide some clarity and reassurance around the individual you may be taking on or in my day-to-day work life, the candidate we are going to represent to our client with our business name and reputation attached.
QUESTIONS TO ASK TO ENSURE YOUR REFERENCE CHECK IS WORTHWHILE
A reference check will only provide you with valuable information if the questions you ask to allow for it to be fed back so see below a handful of questions that could ensure your reference check is worthwhile and provide you with information to help assess a candidate’s suitability.
1. ‘Can you please provide an example of a time when…’ These types of questions can provide you with a real-life example of how the candidate may make decisions when it comes to problem-solving or working in a specific industry/sector.
2. ‘What areas do you think the candidate could improve on?’ Asking this question may provide an overview of not necessarily the candidate's weaknesses but areas where they may not be as strong and could be worked on.
3. ‘Did the candidate require a level of supervision?’ Role-specific questions will help you to understand how a candidate works.
4. ‘What was the candidate's job title whilst employed with you and how long were they there?’ Asking this question means you can match the response up with the candidate's CV to ensure it is an accurate representation of their employment history which is taken into account when recruiting for positions.
SO, HOW IMPORTANT ARE REFERENCE CHECKS?
All in all, reference checks are an important step in the recruitment process for many reasons as discussed above. Always take time to make the call, ask role-specific questions to best assess someone’s suitability and if any red flags are raised – trust your gut!
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