As we are moving right along in this series of blogs that goes over the crucial steps in the hiring process we are now at the reference checking stage. You or may not have noticed but over the past few years completing reference checks has changed and for some businesses they do not do them anymore. Is that a good or bad thing? Well at MKS HR we feel it’s always important to check employment references, because as we have said before, past performance is a good indicator of future performance. One time I interviewed a very good candidate for a role, but it wasn’t until I was checking one of their employment references when I found out some information that made us decide to not hire the candidate. Had we not done that reference check we could have hired the wrong person.
Part of the reason why some have decided to not do references anymore, is that companies now have policies in place where they will not give out references to past employees. That can make it hard, because the only information you get is a confirmation of their title, dates they worked and possibly a brief summary of what their role was. No comments on performance are given out. This unfortunately has come about because at some point a former employer said some not nice things about a past employee and lawyers probably got involved. It’s sad those things happen, but it has forced some companies to adopt those policies.
These can policies can be a road block in the process so the question then becomes, do we still complete this important step in the hiring process? Yes we do! It’s still such an important step that we feel is so crucial to complete. What we have also heard in the news lately is that some businesses are starting this process sooner rather than waiting until the end.
Typically in the past you would screen resumes, interview your candidates, decide on the person to hire, and then get their references to check. If all is good with those references then an offer of employment is made. What’s happening now, and MKS HR thinks it’s a great idea, is that once a candidate has their one interview (either via phone or in person), then references are checked before anymore progress is made with that candidate. We think it makes sense because you are still completing this important step, but also you are doing it sooner and knowing whether it’s worth your time and the candidate’s time to continue.
So how many references do you need to check? Ideally you want to check 3, and it would also be great if all 3 of those were employment ones-so past Managers/Supervisors. If that’s not possible then 2 employment and 1 personal would suffice. You also might be thinking what questions should I you ask? As always here at MKS HR, we are here to help with that and have a handy template to use. In fact this is the template we use for our clients!
Click here and you are on your way to getting your free Reference Check Template.