Reference checks help verify the accuracy of the information that the candidate has supplied through their application, interviews and resume.These checks will help show patterns of desirable traits and highlight potential behavior. Checking references can also help make the on-boarding process easier for both the candidate and your company.
To get started, here are five tips to improve your hiring process:
Encourage the manager to get involved.
Reference checks can be done by the HR team at your organization, but it's best to have the hiring manager conduct the check to get the most out of the inquiry. The hiring manager will have a strong understanding of what they are looking for and be able to screen for cultural fit within their team.
Standardize the process.
Reference checking is most useful when it is well structured and consistent. Conduct all reference checks in the same manner and be sure to set up evaluation criteria so all references are recorded in a similar way.
Ask the right questions.
Begin with preliminary questions about the relationship of the candidate and their reference. These will serve as icebreakers and allow you to gain a clearer understanding of the candidate.
Continue to verification questions. Ask questions about the candidate’s resume and answers on their application or during their interview. Then transition to competency-based questions that will show if the candidate is qualified for the position in question.
If the reference offers generalized responses, ask follow up questions such as “Can you tell me more about that?” or “Do you have a specific example in mind?”
Gain multiple perspectives.
You'll want to speak with references who have worked with your candidate in multiple settings over a different periods of time. Ask candidates to provide you with multiple references and be sure to spend the same amount of time speaking with each one. Talking to immediate supervisors, coworkers, direct reports and even clients will give you a complete understanding of the candidate.
To ensure that the references provide candid and accurate feedback, make sure to stress that this process is an anonymous one and that the candidate will not have access to their direct reports.
Reference checks can be one of the most informative steps in hiring. By standardizing the process and asking the right questions, you'll be able to make the most informed hiring decision and help your company hire the best person for the role.