Recruiters and employers spend hundreds of hours to develop a shortlist and extend an offer to the top talent selected to fill a critical role. The last steps before candidate hire are the background check and the reference check. In today’s world, candidates have choices and are likely getting multiple offers and counteroffers if they are truly top talent. Don’t let an automated process (background check) or a hiring manager-driven manual process (reference check) derail the plan you have put in place. Coach clients on how to speed and smooth the process while letting the candidate know what is happening and how long it might take. Communication is key to a great candidate experience.
Long before these final steps are implemented, check with your client to see if they are using a professional and reputable background checking partner. Recruitment best practices have this step being completed in as few as 24-72 hours with a good business partner. If it is taking longer, ask your client why? Might be a good idea to test the practice for yourself. Run a check on yourself or on an internal employee willing to give it a go. A clunky process will cost your client top talent and will give a less-than-outstanding candidate experience.
Communicate well what is happening in the reference check process. This is a joint responsibility of the candidate and the employer. It is a great way to see if the candidate cares about the outcome and is able to effectively manage things outside of their direct control, but well within their sphere of influence. If the employer has more than a day or two invested in the reference checking process and has still not connected with a reference source, communication needs to direct and specific with the candidate. The candidate may need to do a reference replacement if someone is non-responsive.
For clients not doing this regularly, they need to be coached. As the recruiter, you need to fill the void between candidate and employer. Information needs to flow freely and with speed. Good luck! Get coaching!