Job Reference Check Advice for Employers
Reference checking is an essential element of the hiring process, but unless you’re an experienced recruiter, you may not be asking the right questions. Tom Watt, Key Account Manager – Commercial, for Clicks IT Recruitment says the whole point of speaking to referees is to gain a depth of information and true insight into the prospective employee.
Here, Tom shares his wisdom on some of the common mistakes hiring managers make when checking employment references, and what type of questions you should be asking.
Common Employer Reference Check Pitfalls: What Not to Do
Like any part of doing business, practice makes perfect. And Tom says it’s the same for reference checking. Once you’ve conducted a number of interviews with prospective employee references you’ll begin to recognise the tactics that aren’t delivering returns. Some of the obvious mistakes employers make when reference checking include:
- Failing to prepare before the call: Do you know the referee’s name, their title, their relationship to your candidate, and all the other pertinent details?
- Interrupting: Let the referee speak freely, even if you think some of what they are saying is irrelevant. As soon as you cut them off, they’ll be less willing to speak openly.
- Cold calling: Make sure the referees know you will be contacting them. If you want to speak to anyone else, the candidate must make that connection first.
Make Employee Reference Checking Easier With These Two Quick Hacks
Checking employee references can be a daunting task. Knowing the right questions to ask and how to ask them, is key to getting the most out of your pre-employment reference checks. In terms of doing the right thing, Tom says both active listening and asking open-ended questions are essential.
When checking employment references, active listening essentially means listening to what the referee isn’t saying. “Sometimes it takes a little while to really understand what you’re hearing in a reference check, but I think hesitations and delayed responses aren’t always for the reasons you assume,” Tom says.
“So, you have to read into how the referee isn’t answering the question directly, or how they’re not giving you the information you ask for. If someone moves the question into a different example, I think it’s more often a case of them having a high opinion of that person and then trying to make sure they reflect that in their answers.”
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking the right questions is critical when conducting an employment reference check. Tom says it’s easy to fall into the trap of asking close-ended questions that deliver little to no value.
“The wrong questions get the wrong answers, so close-ended questions give you closed answers. When you ask those questions, you don’t really get any depth of information or any real insight into the personality or the performance the candidate has had.”
By asking open-ended questions instead in reference and background checks, you can ‘lead’ the referee in a certain direction and then allow them to answer candidly. With the right approach, they may even diverge into other topics that provide relevant, insightful information you hadn’t even planned for.
Online Reference Checking Service
Finding the right employee is difficult and conducting thorough pre-employment reference and background checks is essential. Therefore, many organistations choose to engage a reference checking service to ensure they employ the right candidate.
At CV Check, we take the pain out of reference checking. We have years of experience in performing reference checks for employers from all sizes of businesses and industries. So, if you’re looking for employment reference checking companies, look no further. Save time and the hassle and simply book one of our reference checks online. For more information or to book one of our online reference checks see here.
You can also download Tom Watt’s 10 Questions to Ask Referees for real insight into conducting a thorough pre-employment reference check, below.