Even though the reference section on a resume is quite small, reference checking is crucial to a successful hiring process. Candidates may seem amazing on paper, and even have social networking profiles to back it up, but reference checks are the only way to prove that what they say is, in fact, true.
Bad Hires Cost the Company Money
Remember, a bad hire can cost the company a lot of money. From having to face costs to post the job again, to the personnel time it takes to interview a new round of candidates, it’s a costly mistake. Often, hiring and human resources professionals can cut their chances of a bad hire by making thorough reference checks.
Why Is Reference Checking So Important for Your New Hire?
Reference checking is the one time in the interview process you have access to independent information on a candidate’s previous employment positions. You can also ask for experience directly related to the responsibilities of the job position. If you have specific scenarios the position requires, you can ask references if the job candidate has had experience similar to them. This is also a time to clarify any “gray” areas in employment history, if you weren’t satisfied with the answers during the regular interview.
What Should You Ask a Reference?
Be specific and ask concrete questions that can illustrate a candidate’s skills, qualities, and knowledge. You can determine whether or not the candidate’s skills match up with what your job position requires. You can also gain an understanding with the type of worker and personality qualities the candidate has, based on learning how they handled particular situations at their previous job. However, DO NOT ask hypothetical questions. They are not fair to the candidate you are considering. The only exception to this rule is asking if the reference would hire them again.
Take This Opportunity to Determine Whether or Not the References Are Real
Unfortunately, fake references are very real. A true reference should be a manager or supervisor, not just a co-worker or friend. Social media has helped determine whether or not references truly were managers, but if you can’t find the answer on a site like LinkedIn, calling the reference will usually cast away any doubt.
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