What is Reference Check?

A reference check occurs when a recruitment or hiring manager or employer reaches out to a candidate's last workplace to fetch further details about the candidate's performance and skills. A reference check is conducted to ensure that the candidate has the requirements for the position the business aims to fill.

What does a reference check involve?

A reference check may consist of multiple phases. The employer might confirm dates of employment and job titles, college attendance, and degree obtained. An extensive reference check will entail speaking with references to acquire insight into an applicant's skills, credentials, and ability to execute the job.

In the case of a thorough investigation, your references should expect inquiries similar to those asked of job seekers during an interview. They may be questioned about the applicant's strengths and shortcomings, most exemplary traits, capacity to deal with stress, and so on.

Why are reference checks necessary?

Reference checks are performed for a variety of purposes, including:

– To collect necessary information

References are frequently one of the most acceptable sources of information regarding the applicant's employment history. References may be the only source, aside from the candidate, with firsthand knowledge of the applicant's working performance and on-the-job abilities.

During the reference checking process, asking the right questions may offer you a wealth of information, such as the applicant's strengths and weaknesses, ability to meet deadlines, and desire to learn on the job. This, in turn, can assist you in determining whether the candidate possesses the necessary skills and traits for the role.

– To ascertain job fit

As a recruiting manager or human resources professional, you are well aware that having the correct skill set is only one criterion to consider when picking the perfect applicant. Aside from the work fit, you want a good candidate for the employer and the firm.

Conducting reference checks can assist you in determining whether or not the candidate will be a suitable fit. Typically, you can decide if an applicant is well-respected or just another coworker based on how the reference reacts to the questions. After all, who knows the candidate better than the person who works with them daily?

Include some questions that are directly related to your corporate culture.

  • To confirm the information provided by applicants

One of the essential advantages of reference checking is that it allows you to verify information on an applicant's résumé and job application. Do not question the reference to confirm specific details, such as job title, employment tasks, workplace responsibilities, training, and skill sets. In actuality, present and previous coworkers are frequently the finest people to assess a candidate's talents and aptitudes.

That being said, it's also vital to remember that references frequently express their opinions, which various variables might influence. It's important to remember that most candidates only submit the names of references they trust will speak well of them.

  • To recognise red flags

Another advantage of conducting reference checks is that they might alert you to potential issues with the candidate. The reference may also allude to harmful workplace practices such as frequent absenteeism, tardiness, and argumentative and disrespectful conduct.

Another red sign to watch for during the reference check is if the reference is unable to answer simple inquiries about the application. This might imply that the reference and the applicant did not collaborate closely; hence, they are not the best judge of the candidate's on-the-job performance.

How to perform a reference check

When doing reference checks, you should keep the following aspects in mind:

  • Provide enough time

Reference checks are helpful in the recruitment process, but they may be time-consuming. If you are doing this over the phone, make sure you allow enough time to do the appropriate number of reference checks.

  • Ask open-ended, straightforward inquiries

Stick to open-ended inquiries that offer the reference plenty of opportunity to elaborate on the applicant's talents and abilities.

  • Seek professional recommendations

Request that the applicant only give the names of individuals they presently or have previously worked with. You might also ask the candidate not to use any family members as references.

  • Know your legal obligations

When it comes to reference checking, you must be aware of your legal responsibilities. To avoid any compliance concerns, you must engage with your legal and data protection teams to better grasp the legal constraints in your specific location.

  • Prepare the questions

Before commencing a reference check, it's also a good idea to have a list of prepared questions available. This step may help you not only keep on track and obtain relevant information, but it can also help you prevent these sorts of compliance difficulties.