The Importance of Performing Thorough Candidate Reference Checks

The Importance of Performing Thorough Candidate Reference Checks

It is very common in new employment scenarios that a candidate can go through an entire hiring process, come on board, and leave the company shortly after. This could be a voluntary decision from the hire or a decision made by the employer that it was not a good fit. Either way, there are a few steps that can be taken to potentially prevent either of the above scenarios from occurring.

An important, but sometimes overlooked, step is completing thorough reference checks on candidates prior to making an offer. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 3 in 10 reference checks did not have a positive thing to say about a candidate. Additionally, 29% of candidates will provide a false reference.

To avoid bad hires, and save your company the costs of back-filling an open position, it is important to ask the following reference questions.

  • What is your relationship with NAME? In what capacity did you did you work with him or her?
  • What was your experience working with NAME? Was he or she successful at your organization?
  • Was NAME a dependable and reliable coworker or subordinate?  Specifically, was he or she on time, hit deadlines, and/or complete necessary tasks?
  • Was NAME a valuable member of your team? Was he or she cohesive with the group?
  • What would you say are NAME’s top strengths in the workplace?  What are any areas that he or she could improve on in the workplace?
  • Currently, NAME is in process for (JOB TITLE) position. Do you think he or she would be a good fit for this role? Why or why not?
  • Any other comments or thoughts on NAME that I did not cover?

By being proactive and asking these questions you will be able to prevent the majority of bad hires and reduce turnover at your organization.

What other questions do you believe are important to ask when checking references?

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