HR Strategy

Here’s My Number, So Call Me Maybe: How to Get Real with References

February 27, 2019

You’ve found your superstar candidate: they have the skills and experience you need, and the interview went well. With a great candidate right at your fingertips, you might be tempted to jump the gun and offer this person a job on the spot. After all, how important is a reference check, anyway? Experts estimate that approximately 20% to 50% of candidates lie on a résumé to embellish their credentials, so checking references isn’t a step to neglect. Reference checking not only allows you to confirm facts, it acts as a figurative crystal ball allowing you a glimpse at the past and an idea of what the future might hold.

You want to know whether this person is too good to be true and get a better sense of how they might fare at your company. A quick conference with a couple people can make a world of difference. Gaining independent insight about a candidate’s previous on-the-job performance is a key feature of the reference check. It verifies the information provided by the candidate on their résumé and during the interview.

Effective reference checks can knock out 20% of candidates from the running, allowing employers to avoid hiring an undesirable candidate. A bad hiring decision can really hurt your organization, not just because a bad employee is less valuable than a good one. Hiring the wrong person means you’ll probably have to replace them sooner rather than later, which means starting the hiring process all over again. Not only that, a bad co-worker can make life harder for your other employees, and might even push good employees to leave. Every hiring decision is a risk, but reference checks can help you minimize the danger of a mistake.

The process of hiring can be rewarding when a great candidate is found for your organization. However, it can also be a timely process with the number of candidates it takes to find a great one. This is one of many reasons to do your due diligence when selecting a candidate, so you don’t have to turn around and start the process again within a short period of time.

How can you ensure you are getting valuable information from references in a professional way? Download our FREE Guide to Reference Calling for tips on getting the most when checking a reference.

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