Conducting reference checks is a high priority once hiring managers have finished interviews and want to find out about a candidate from those they work with. These checks are an important final step that should not be neglected.
References can really help give a more complete and accurate picture of a job candidate. Some candidates are good performers but don’t come across well in an interview. Others are just mediocre performers but interview well. In both cases, checking references can help to dispel misconceptions. Here are some tips for checking references.
Make Time for Due Diligence
If you are going to conduct a more in-depth interview with references, you need to set aside enough time to do it right. You cannot simply squeeze it in when you have a few spare minutes. You need to have time for a real conversation, where you discuss and probe to find out as much as you can about the candidate.
And do not conduct a reference check through email. There is no way you can get a good picture of the job candidate with this method.
Find the Right Contacts to Interview
It is certainly no revelation to say that the more people you talk to, the more you can learn about the candidate and the better picture you get of the person. Make sure the people you talk to are in fact who they purport to be. Finding former managers and co-workers to talk with during reference checks will help paint the most accurate picture of a candidate.
Prepare Questions in Advance
If you try to come up with questions on the spur of the moment during the conversation, you may forget to ask about something important. At a minimum, check on how the reference knows the applicant and for how long, what the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses are, how the person works with others and handles stress, and what his or her performance on the job was like. To learn as much as you can, you need to probe the reference as well, asking open-ended and follow up questions.
What’s the One Question You Need to Ask?
This is the question that may tell you the most about the job candidate. It is simply this – would you hire this person again? Such an open-ended question will inevitably lead to an answer will reveal a lot. If the response is tepid or reserved, it should raise a red flag. If, on the other hand, it is eager and enthusiastic, it is an indication you may have a winner.
If your company is looking for good people, Opti Staffing can help you. We go the extra mile with all of our job candidates to delve into their background and learn about their skills and knowledge. And we work closely with employers to learn exactly what their needs are, so we can make a good match. Give us a call today.