Are Reference Checks Necessary?
Reference checks are a traditional part of the recruitment process, but hiring managers sometimes wonder whether or not they’re worth the effort. Contacting and interviewing multiple references for several candidates takes a long time, and even the best recommendation from a reference isn’t a guarantee that someone is a good fit for the team.
Although reference checks may seem outdated, they’re still a critical part of vetting a potential hire. The key is to conduct your reference checks in a way that truly helps you get to know the candidate. Too many hiring managers use reference checks as a final confirmation that the individual has the right experience for the job. Instead, reference checks should be your chance to determine whether the candidate’s personality, skills, and style are right for your workplace.
The first purpose of a reference check is to make sure the candidate is being forthcoming about their employment history. You want to be certain that they have the type and length of experience that they claim to have. However, reference checks can provide much more as well.
When done correctly, your reference check should help you understand whether or not the candidate will fit in with your company’s culture. All workplaces are different, and struggles with company culture are one of the most common reasons people leave a job. Even if a candidate has the perfect history and experience, they might not be the right choice if their values or approach seem to conflict with your company.
You can ask the reference to speak about the individual’s history with working as part of a team, settling interpersonal conflicts, showing leadership, or completing tasks under pressure. By digging deeper in your reference interviews, you can have an honest conversation with the reference about the candidate’s strengths.
Reference checks will only seem unnecessary if you ask unnecessary or unhelpful questions. To make the most of your conversation with a reference, ask questions that give you a clearer understanding of who the candidate is as a person. This is a valuable chance to learn about the individual from someone else who has worked with them, so you should not pass up the opportunity.
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