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How to get the most out of personal reference checks

by , 31 July 2013
You probably know that before you hire a new employee, you need to make sure their CV is correct by doing background checks. But the big question is: Are you looking at the right places to verify information on your candidate? Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of personal reference checks.

Reference checking is a form of insurance you make before you make your candidate an offer.

The last thing you want is to hire an employee with a with a bad credit history in your finance department or an employee convicted of drunken driving as your company driver.

But do you know where to look to find concrete information that'll allow you to decide whether you must employ the candidate or not?

Here's what you must do to conduct thorough personal reference checks


The Practical Guide to Human Resource Management suggests you contact your candidate's previous employers to check his job history work experience so you know you're hiring the right person for the job.

Check the following:

  • If your candidate's current or recent employer is not listed as a reference, ask the employee why;
  • If the candidate says you can't call her references, ask her why not. If her reference is her current employer and this person doesn't know he's looking for another job, this is a legitimate reason;
  • Be cautious if the only references are from long ago. For example, a school principal or teacher and there are no current references; and
  • Be aware that references from friends or family members are less likely to be objective.

So what references should you use?

Use these sources to get references:

Previous (or current) supervisors;

  • If you're hiring for a management position ask for the details of employees he's managed;
  • If the position is senior-level, ask for a board member or other high-level referee;
  • If your company is highly team-oriented ask for the name of a former peer or colleague; and
  • Social networking sites on the Internet, for example, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Remember, if you check social networking sites for one candidate, you need to practice fairness and check for all candidates.

Also be sure to include a reference to social networking or Internet sites in your permission clause that you get candidates and employees to sign.

Remember, you can only conduct a check for a criminal record if your candidate consents or it's relevant to the job requirements, says FSPBusiness.

Using these methods will help you conduct thorough personal reference checks when hiring new employees.



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