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Reference checks: Use these techniques to sway a past employer to give you the information you need

by , 19 May 2014
Fact: Up to one-third of all CVs contain misrepresentations.

That's why if you don't want to be caught out when you recruit new employees, you must conduct reference checks.

Verifying details in an applicant's CV and past employment details is one of the most critical procedures during the hiring process. These calls provide specifics about past job performance that you could use as likely predictors of future success.

But, where do you start?

Contact the candidates' past employer to verify information.

If you're asking yourself 'how on earth do I get the information I need from a past employer', we recommend you use these techniques to ensure your recruitment process runs smoothly.


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Two simple, but effective, techniques to help you get the info you need when conducting reference checks

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management gives you techniques that may help persuade a past employer to give you the information you need when conducting reference checks:

#1: Don't start by asking for an employment reference

If you do that, the employer may get defensive and create a barrier to effective communication.

Instead, start with a non-controversial request, like the start date or job title.

#2: Offer to send a release

The Guide says this is consent by the applicant to do the necessary checks and contact the listed references.

A release gives the past employer a great level of comfort. It shows that you have valid business reasons for asking for information and that he has permission to give it.

Here's what you must do if these two techniques fail…


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If nothing else works, do the following to get information from past employers when conducting reference checks

#3: If the past employer is still hostile, ask him if he would rehire the applicant, or whether the applicant is eligible for rehire. This has become a standard reference question.

Past employers are a useful resource when doing reference checks. Use these techniques to get the information you need so you can ensure your recruitment process runs smoothly.

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