5 Disastrous Reference Checking Mistakes
The whole idea of reference checking is often seen as a formality for many companies. It’s a small, even occasionally overlooked part of the process that is typically given to junior staff members to complete. In fact, some companies have gone a step further and made one of the biggest reference checking mistakes: going electronic. While the digital age is a huge benefit to many aspects of recruitment, checking references isn’t one of them. Human interaction is an important facet of hiring that can’t be replaced. A recruiter needs to listen attentively, use common sense and follow intuition in order to attract and retain top talent.
Did you know that 69 percent of employers changed their minds about a potential employee after thoroughly checking references Less than 25 percent of employers increased their positive viewpoint of their candidate from consulting with a reference. That smaller percentage is whom you want to hire. They are more likely to stay in their positions longer and to add value to your organization. In most cases, reference checking provides additional information that allows you to make a wise decision.
Mistakes Cost Time and Money
Checking the references provided by an applicant is easy, but it’s even easier to do it wrong. Before you start your next round of hiring, read through these disastrous, and unfortunately common, reference checking mistakes.
The biggest mistake companies make when it comes to reference checking is skipping it altogether. Hiring managers and recruiters often trust their gut instinct more than common logic and will hire a candidate just because they like them. Beware, as this method can lead to some serious problems that will inevitably showcase themselves within the first few months of employment.
2.Making a Contingent Job Offer or Not Calling Early
One of the bigger reference checking mistakes is to offer employment contingent upon positive reference checks. Imagine the frustration of the applicant as they expect a job offer, but instead receive a rejection letter because their references weren’t positive. The best time to call a reference is after the first interview, which will help you decide if a second interview is necessary and if an employment offer should be given.
Does your company check references on some candidates and not others Unfortunately, you aren’t alone. Many recruiters will only check references for certain positions, but all jobs benefit from some form of background check that verifies the integrity, honesty and ethics of the applicant. No matter the level or position, reference checks should always be performed.
4.Accepting References Where Accountability Wasn’t a Factor
Companies should never accept references from colleagues or associates when the person wasn’t accountable towards them. The best practice is to only accept professional references that are direct supervisors or managers. The information you receive from these sources is much more likely to be reliable and will help you make an informed decision.
5.Failing to Ask Follow Up Questions
One of the big reference checking mistakes is to only ask yes or no questions about your applicant. Instead of a question like ïWas Jane a hard workerï ask it this way ïHow would you describe Jane’s work ethic and how she handled pressure on the jobï
Another way that recruiters fail to properly establish insight into their candidates is by failing to ask follow up questions. If a source tells you that Jane was the hardest working employee they ever had, follow up by asking for specifics into how her work ethic was so remarkable.
Utilizing Social Media
You may be wondering if your company can utilize social media to aid in reference checking. The answer is yes and no. You should never check a social media site for information about a candidate without first receiving their approval and consent, and you should also know that most sites won’t provide specific information you need. You can look at professional social media sites for consistencies or inconsistencies, but remember that the information may be outdated and inaccurate. One of the big reference checking mistakes is to assume a social media site will provide you with all the information you need. Use it only as a secondary source of data to verify what you already know.
For more tips and tricks on hiring and retaining top talent in your organization, check out additional articles on Mighty Recruiter. We’ve spent countless hours researching all the best information available to save you time, money and hassle. Check us out today.