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Consider these two points when calling references so you don't violate the applicants' rights

by , 17 October 2014
There are five steps to conducting background checks on potential employees.
One of these steps is to contact the applicant's references.

Now there are two points you must consider when calling references. Read on to find out what they are so you won't violate the applicants' rights and open the door to legal comebacks.

Two points to consider when calling references

1. When calling references, you must avoid asking subjective questions such as 'tell me about the applicant's personality?' You must ask specific questions about the tasks and role he previously held.
Bear in mind that questions related to the applicant's work behaviour and his reasons for leaving don't constitute a violation of his rights.
2. Evaluate the credibility of the person giving the reference.
A reference given by the applicant's immediate line manager is more credible than a reference given by a manager he didn't report to or an HR representative, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
In addition, probe the identity of the person giving the reference. Nowadays, applicants put their friends and family as references. So you must investigate if the person giving the reference is legit.
Keep this in mind when it comes to reference checks…

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When it comes to contacting the applicant's references, always remember this

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) says applicants have a right not to be discriminated against. The Act makes it clear that all checks must be relevant to the job the applicant has applied for.
In addition, applicants have a constitutional right to privacy.
The bottom line: Don't go overboard when doing reference checks. Always consider the two points above to avoid violating the applicants' rights.
PS: For more information on recruitment and conducting background checks, get your hands on Recruitment: The Complete Guide.

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