Reference Check: Digging The Truth of Candidate’s Past Performance
The pre-employment screening process has done, so has the interview. Are you sure the candidate’s answers were trustworthy during the interview? The hiring process has not done yet. It is important that the recruiters or interviewers see the candidate with pessimistic eyes until the very end of the recruitment process.
The truth is it can be very hard to know what someone is like to work with on a day-to-day basis solely from a formal interview. Therefore, the recruiters should conduct reference checks. A reference check is an objective evaluation of a candidate’s past job performance based on information collected from key individuals who have known and worked with the candidate.
Who can be the key individuals?
- A direct supervisor from the previous workplace, because they have worked with the candidate so that company knows the candidate’s performance and achievements more objectively.
- High-level position from previous workplaces who know the applicant well, not those who don’t know or just know the applicant a little insight.
- Clients who have worked with the candidate, and are satisfied with the results of the candidate’s work.
A reference check is a great tool for deciding between equally qualified candidates, or for weeding out applicants who won’t be suited to the company’s culture.
In obtaining the references from the key individuals, companies need to reconsider candidates if they find signs such as the following:
- Negative feedback
- Factual reference – which is only confirming the name, job title, and date of work. This could be a sign of less than satisfactory performance or the company has a policy not to provide further references.
- Inconsistency. If at one point the key individuals do not provide references in accordance with the candidates’ statement on their resumes or interview, the company needs to be alerted.
- Too positive references. Honest references reveal the weaknesses and strengths of candidates candidly. But if the candidates’ performances sound too good to be true, you may want to ask the individuals to mention the concrete example. However, if the key individual cannot provide one concrete example, it could mean they have no exact pictures of the candidates.