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You think you've just interviewed the perfect person for the job. But how do you make sure he's 'the one'?

by , 31 January 2014
This answer's pretty obvious right? Do a quick reference check! BUT before you rush off and start frantically dialing, you need to know exactly how to get the referee to talk to. And that's where I come in.

Keep reading to find out the best places to get a reliable reference...
Employment contracts: what the law says you must do
You must give your employees the terms and conditions of their employment. This document can take the form of a letter of appointment, or you can create a more formal contract of employment – the form doesn't matter it's the content that's important. Getting your employee to sign the document avoids disputes about whether or not it was given and what it contains. You must do this when the employee starts employment and you must retain the document for at least three years after termination of the employment relationship (Section 29 of the BCEA).
Find out everything you need to know about employment contracts and more here...
Five ways to get the possible reference for a potential employee
When getting a reference, the best possible contacts are:
Previous (or current) supervisors.
If you're hiring for a management position ask for the details of an employee he's managed. This'll give a good indication of how he managed others.
If the position's senior-level, ask for a board member or other high-level referee.
If you're a highly team-oriented company, ask for the name of a former peer. 
And of course, a reference check just wouldn't be complete without a quick scouting of social networking sites. 
Why not try:
- Facebook, www.facebook.com
- LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com
- Twitter, www.twitter.com
- And even plain old Google, www.google.com
Now that you know who to chat to and where to look, here's how to get the info you need...

How to make maximise a reference check...
A lot of companies have a policy in place that stops employees from giving references. In general, the HR department will only confirm employment, the dates of employment and the employee's job title. If the referee opens the conversation with the 'no reference' policy, tell him it's a purely work-related reference, is highly confidential and you won't discuss it with anyone. 
You've got him on the line and ready to spill the beans, what now? 
When getting information from the referee, make sure you only ask open-ended questions. These are more objective, less leading and encourages the referee to give a full explanation. An open-ended question usually begins with words like 'why' and 'how', or phrases like 'tell me about...' Often they're not a question, but rather a statement that asks for a response. 
Just remember: If you do decide to hire then employee, make sure you have a sound employment contract in place. To find out what your employment contract legally has to include, get your copy of Labour Law for Managers today!
Until next time, 
Taryn Strugnell
P.S. Keep an eye out for next week Tuesday's Labour Bulletin (11th February) where I reveal 6 tips to get the most accurate reference check possible.  Alternatively, get your hands on a copy of Recruitment: The Complete Guide here...

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