Hiring Step 13: Check References


Verify what the candidate has told you with an independent source.

You will be tempted to skip this step, but don’t.  This is the most important step in the process.  If you have to skip everything else, at least call references.  There are many stories about problems that could have been avoided if an agency had just checked a candidates references before hiring him.

How to Do This:

      1. Assign a couple people to work together on the task. This will speed things up.
      2. Prepare a standard form with questions.  Here’s a Reference Check Template you can use.
      3. Send an email requesting a time to speak with each reference. If you don’t get a quick response (one day), follow with a phone call.
      4. Obtain a minimum of two references from work settings, speaking to former supervisors (rather than colleagues).  Do not contact friends or relatives of the candidate.
      5. If you can’t get any other information from the person giving the referal, at least confirm the title and dates of employment that the candidate has listed on his/her CV.  See the attached file, Reference Check Tips.
      6. If the reference is good, proceed with the security check, and determining what kind of salary and benefits you can offer the candidate.
      7. If the reference is bad, or if the person giving the reference won’t say much about the person at all, do not hire the person. Move to your second choice.

Next Step:

Step 14:  Do the security check