Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to conduct a reference check.

I suggest you don't check references until you're are ready to make an offer to a candidate. This saves staff time and demonstrates your respect for the candidates. After all, you don't know whether their current employer or favorite professor even knows they're looking for a new position. (I personally prefer candidates who tell their employer, but realize this isn't always possible, or even desirable.) In that case, use former supervisors or senior coworkers as references. If the candidates don't want you to contact their current employers, there's always other people who can provide a reference.

Tell all the candidates that you'll check their references before you make any hiring decisions. Business owners often hire applicants because of a well-written resume or a "good feeling" from an interview. No matter how quickly you'd like to get a position filled, always perform this due diligence before you take the hiring step. Otherwise, it's often a case of "hire in haste, repent at leisure."

Ask each applicant to sign a release form permitting you to ask detailed questions of former employers and other references. Make sure the form prevents the applicant from suing you or any former employers based on the information you learn during the reference checks. Without this permission, you may only be able to confirm employment dates, pay rate, and position — information that tells you little about a prospective employee's character. Also, check with your lawyer first, because some kinds of liability can't be waived. Fax a copy of the prospective employee's background check waiver and your personal credentials before you call a prospective employee's references. Many employers fear being sued for defamation if they say anything negative about a former employee. Your fax will ease their fears. Keep in mind that some states now consider employers' comments to be "qualifiedly privileged." That means the employer can't be held liable for the information he or she reveals unless he or she knows it to be false or reckless. If that's true in your state (check with your lawyer), make sure the references know it.

When conducting reference checks, get an overall summary of the candidates' strengths and weaknesses and always ask for specific examples to support generalities and glowing statements. This will reduce exaggeration.

• Ask "Please describe your reporting relationship with the candidate? If none, in what capacity did you observe the candidate's work?"

• Verify basic information such as employment dates, job titles, salary, and types of jobs performed.

• Ask "What was the candidate's reason for leaving?"

• Ask “What motivated or drove the candidate to succeed?”

• Ask “Would you rehire this individual? Why or Why not?”

• Ask “How would you compare this candidate to others you know at the same level?”

• To get an overall summary, ask “How would you rank the candidate's overall performance on a scale of 1 - 10, with 10 being highest? What would it take to move this ranking up a point?”

* Ask "If I describe the position we're hiring for, can you tell me how good a fit you think the candidate would be for that position?"

• Ask "Is there anything I haven't asked that you'd like to share with me?"

Having a standard format for checking references allows you to easily compare candidates and ensures your managers are asking the "right" questions to make an educated decision before offering candidates a job with your company.

You might also consider conducting a background check on a prospective employee. Not every company does this, and not every position merits it, but it might be appropriate in some cases. Background checks can verify past employment, as well as checking on educational and criminal records. Background checks can also search driving records and financial information such as credit reports, if that kind of information is pertinent to the prospective candidate´s position with your company.


Anonymous said...

Good Post thank you

Bilal Hamid said...

Good Post thank you

Bilal Hamid said...

Good Post thank you