Even though reference checks are an extremely important part of the hiring process, many employers continue to downplay their importance, simply taking a candidate at their own word.
That can be a very costly mistake, as it eats up a lot of time and resources to hire someone, only to find out later that they aren’t the right person for the job. And that’s where reference checks come into play.
By asking a potential candidate to give you contact information for a few references, you’ll be surprised just how much you can find out about that person, and that information could become crucial in your hiring decision.
Here are four reasons to perform a thorough reference check:
- They weed out the bad candidates – Sometimes a candidate can look great on paper, and even give a great first impression during the interview, only for you to find out later that they aren’t a good fit for your company. In fact, a survey released earlier this year by Office Team found that 21 percent of applicants are removed from consideration after managers speak to their references. That’s most likely because a reference might reveal something about a candidate that they failed to reveal themselves, and that information could make or break their chances with your company.
- They pinpoint liars and fabricators – Most people do a little embellishing on their resume and during interviews, in order to play to their strengths and make themselves look better, but there’s a big difference between pumping yourself up and flat out lying. By asking a candidate’s references – specifically past employers – to verify the information they’ve revealed themselves, you can avoid a costly and time-consuming process of hiring someone and then finding out that they weren’t being 100 percent honest about their skills or past experiences.
- They give you good insight – A lot of times, employers and co-workers don’t know what it will be like to work with someone until they actually do so, but references can provide a lot of insight into what a particular candidate is like. Beyond learning about their abilities, experiences, and accomplishments, a good reference should be able to tell you what type of person the candidate is and whether or not they would be a good fit within the culture of your organization.
- They help you differentiate facts from opinions – It’s easy for a candidate to say “I was the top salesperson on my team” or “The products I built brought in more revenue for the company.” By speaking to that person’s references, you should be able to find out just how true those statements are, and just how much impact that person had on the company. Simply ask the references to give you figures instead of opinions – instead of asking if the candidate was the top salesperson, ask how much they increased sales and how that compared to the rest of the team.
- Image via Microsoft Office
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