Checking references for a candidate is an essential part of the hiring process. It helps verify the qualifications, experience, and overall suitability for the position. When is the right time to call a reference? More importantly, what do you ask? As a small business owner, you may not have a predefined interview process. Here are some of the tips and tricks for calling references.
References are becoming increasingly important in the hiring process as compensation for new employees increased 5.2% in 2022 according to a May 2023 Monthly Labor Review from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your business cannot afford to hire the wrong people for the wrong positions.
While we are not a staffing firm, we are here to help streamline your hiring processes by creating great job descriptions and helping with the employee onboarding process. Most importantly we want to make sure you feel great about making hiring decisions for your business.
Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Labor a bad hire can cost your company 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings? Hiring the right people in the right positions is vital to business growth.
Positions require a high level of trust, responsibility, or access to sensitive information, it's advantageous to conduct thorough reference checks early in the process. This will help you make an informed decision and mitigate potential risks. References provide an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate on their resume and during the interview process. This helps ensure that the candidate's qualifications and experiences match what they've claimed.
Calling references for external candidates can be useful for hiring managers because it provides more information about the applicant and helps them make a final decision about whether to offer the job.
Reference checks can help validate information about a prospective hire and provide details about an applicant's past accomplishments or potential worth to the company. Additionally, By speaking with individuals who have worked with the candidate in the past, your company can gather perspectives on the candidate's performance, interpersonal skills, and other qualities that are relevant to the job.
Checking references before making a formal job offer is a prudent step to ensure you have as much information as possible about the candidate. It can help confirm that the candidate's claims align with their actual performance.
Always ensure you have the candidate's consent to contact their references. It is considered a common courtesy and professional practice to ask candidates for permission before reaching out to their references. This also gives the candidate the opportunity to inform the references to expect the call. When they are expecting you, references will be able to prepare to answer questions you could have about the candidates.
When checking a candidate's references, it's essential to ask questions that help you gain insights into the candidate's work ethic, skills, and character. Be sure to limit your scope to legally appropriate questions as the previous employer may not be able to give you too many details. You can still gauge the responses to many questions without having them do so if you know how to ask the right questions.
Some employers may not provide many details about former employees due to potential legal issues. For example, a former employer can legally refuse to give information about an employee other than their official title and the dates they were employed. While this is legal, it's generally considered just as bad as giving a negative review.
The reality is that companies are not required to give references to previous employees. Depending on the departure they may want to limit the amount of information that they give. Often, employers are extremely cautious about what they do and don't say to minimize their liability in the event of a lawsuit. Companies often have policies to avoid potential litigation due to defamation and libel.
Typically, previous employers will keep information factual. For instance, they will tell you the date of hire, and the last date of employment. They will avoid talking about personal opinions and possible problems they had with other team members.
Hiring a new employee is vital to business growth. Do not rush the hiring process. Take your time and explore all the different avenues you have, including calling references to avoid the expense of a bad hire. Your team may be thinly spread with fewer employees than usual, but a bad hire is not the answer.
A wrong hire will only temporarily alleviate your problems before returning you to square one or even worse. Take your time and avoid the costly mistake of choosing the wrong person that might have looked great on paper, but not in practice. NO company can afford a bad hire.
Remember, reference checks should be approached with professionalism and confidentiality. Respect the privacy of both the candidate and the references while seeking valuable and relevant feedback to aid in the hiring decision. At Clarity HR, we are here to help.