Adapting to new hiring practices is a necessity for any business or recruitment partner to thrive in this competitive landscape. And one of the things constantly changing is the role and importance of pre-employment reference checks in today’s workplace.
Reference checks allow a recruiter to get independent insight about a candidate’s previous on-the-job performance. It verifies the information provided by the candidate on their resume and during the interview. You can also use this information to sell your candidate to your client.
We hear conflicting opinions as to the value of reference checks in this day and age. For many, reference checking is just part of the process, and they don’t place much value on the information gleaned about candidates – thinking the references provided may be biased or even fake. But it is an incredibly vital part of any recruitment process, and should never slip through the cracks. Reference checks can reveal high-potential candidates who may not be the best at interviewing, and filter out the embellishers who appear amazing on paper.
Rather than depend on the opinions of a few references, some recruiters rely on gut instinct or a 2-minute phone call with the candidate, and while gut instinct can sometimes filter out half-truths and fakers, it shouldn’t be the basis for a hiring decision.
Similarly, a resume can only tell so much – It may look like your candidate is able to do the job, but has he actually done the job in the past? This is where references can provide a wealth of information. You don’t want your client learning the hard way about a candidate’s poor performance.
To get insight as to how your candidate actually performs on the job, it’s important to do reference checks. Make sure the references are really who your candidate says they are by looking them up on LinkedIn and calling them on the company’s land-line. Ask open-ended questions about their work processes, attitude, key strengths and areas of improvement, and whether they would have the candidate work with them again. Pay attention to what the reference doesn’t say about the candidate, as well.
The only thing a reference check costs is a little time and effort, and it can save you from huge ramifications further down the line, so there’s no reason to let the process fall through the cracks.