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Provisional Blog

Don’t Make These Reference Checking Mistakes

February 27th, 2018

As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that when it comes to the hiring process, it can get lengthy and stressful. As a result, you might be looking for areas where you can streamline your efforts. But if you’re looking to cut out the reference-checking portion, you might want to think again. Checking references is your last opportunity before you make an offer to ensure the candidate is being honest about their background. During the process, just make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes:

Inconsistent efforts.

When you’re checking the references for a few different candidates, be consistent with your efforts. Don’t check three references thoroughly for one candidate, then not check the references of another. Also, make sure you ask similar questions when talking to references. While candidate backgrounds vary – meaning you’ll need to ask questions specific to each individual – taking a similar approach to each phone call ensures you’re better able to compare candidates and make the right decision moving forward.

Not asking for references from past bosses.

A reference from a colleague isn’t a bad thing. But you should require that each candidate gives you references from at least two bosses. After all, you want to check on their job title, responsibilities, hard and soft skills, and performance over time. A boss or manager is going to be able to speak to each of these issues much more thoroughly, providing important details you need to know. So if a candidate offers you a list of references and not one from a past manager, ask for a revised list with at least two bosses.

Offering the job on a contingent basis.

Don’t offer the job and state that it’s contingent upon a reference check. Rather, this step should happen earlier in the process and you should check the references of your top two to three pick candidates. That way, if one has poor or weak references, you still have options. You also won’t go too far with one candidate only to find out they lied or were dishonest in some way about their background and experience.

Only asking yes or no questions.

When it comes to calling a reference, you have an opportunity to thoroughly vet a candidate and ensure they’re the right fit for you. You can’t do that if you only ask yes or no questions, or if you don’t dig deeper to learn all you can about the particular candidate. Even if the reference-giver isn’t forthcoming with information, don’t give up. Keep asking follow up questions until you get the information you need.

Good reference checking takes time and patience. If you don’t have enough to devote to the process, consider outsourcing it to Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to vetting them through background and reference checks. Contact us today to learn more.

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