Why Checking References is so Important?

Is checking references a good sign?

The good news is that most companies do. More than 80% of HR departments regularly conduct reference checks. They can uncover information about dates of previous employment, eligibility, salary history, and more.

One reason reference checks are now essential is that HR departments, hiring managers & recruiters are more aware than ever of the cost of a poor hire. Replacing a new hire can cost up to 33% of their annual salary, so HR is focused on getting it right the first time.

What else can reference checks do for you? And how can we help you streamline the process?

Understand the Relationship with the Reference

How is the reference related to the candidate? Knowing the connection will help you evaluate the person’s response to your questions. Before you make a final decision, you’ll need to know if the referee that gave a glowing report is a relative. Or perhaps the angry responses came from someone with a soured professional relationship.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t take either case seriously. It does mean that knowing the relationship will help you evaluate the response you receive more accurately.

You May Uncover Dishonesty

In the internet age, some applicants feel like they can say anything they would like to on their resume or cover letter without being discovered. Carefully checking references changes that. In fact, nearly 30% of employers have found false references, and 62% found that references didn’t give a positive account of a candidate.

It’s vital to have employees who are honest and capable, and doing reference checks can help you find out the truth about someone.

Be Sure to Confirm Previous Roles and Projects

In an effort to get hired, some candidates are willing to embellish previous roles or projects. Someone may say that they were a lead on an initiative when they were a team member, for instance.

These differences matter. It’s great to work on an important idea, but if you’re specifically looking for someone with team leadership experience, you may be disappointed. Using reference checks wisely can help you understand precisely what experience an applicant has and whether it fits your needs.

Dive Deep into Past Performance

Everyone will be quick to tell you that they are hard workers and do well under pressure. But is it true? The only way to know is to contact references who have managed the applicant in the past. Getting an assessment from a previous supervisor will tell you a lot about how they will succeed in your organization.

Candidates should have references that they have worked well with in the past, so you can expect a reasonably fair assessment. No one is going to list their least-favourite boss as a reference.

Ask about how the applicant performed under pressure and be sure to have questions that get to the heart of the job they’ll be doing for you. You can learn a lot about whether they’ll be a great fit.

Confirm the Reason for Leaving

Finding out why your potential new hire left previous jobs will help you understand if they will do well in your company. It’s possible the reasons they give for leaving won’t match up with what their references say.

You don’t have to connect with previous managers to find this out. A friend or family member will likely also know why they left a previous job and what the details were. This can help you understand how the applicant will fit into your culture.

If you do connect with a previous employer, find out if they are eligible for rehire. If not, see if you can uncover why. You want to make sure you aren’t accidentally hiring a bad apple into your team.

Always Seek Additional Comments

There’s almost always going to be something that you didn’t cover in your questions that the referee will think is important. Be sure to ask or leave space on your questionnaire for additional comments.

This can give you unexpected information to help with your decision, positive or negative.

Save Time with Hiringcue’s Automated Reference Checks

Hiringcue.com is an automated solution to streamline the reference checking process. Our solution aims to bring about an automated experience to the tedious, time-consuming task of checking references. It takes less than 60 seconds to check references with Hiringcue versus the hours on the phone, trying to make contact with referees. After the reference check is complete, users receive a reference report that pinpoints all essential information. Our platform creates a less time consuming and cost-effective experience for companies.

Interested in learning more? Sign-up today for a free trial. Receive 3 free credits. You may use these credits for Reference Checks or Pre-Interview Questionnaires.

Gary Kirksey – CEO


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