Too often lately, I’ve been seeing reference checks treated as a box-ticking exercise; an unwanted task that is rushed or palmed off to someone else to get a new employee on board, faster. For many, what seems to be forgotten is the depth of insight we can gain by taking the time out to do it properly. A solid reference check adds genuine value – not just to the hiring process, but to employers as well.
Regardless of how amazing a candidate may seem on paper, skilful questioning forms a vital part of the decision-making process, as well as acting as a final sanity check before committing to an offer. It’s not purely for evaluative purposes, though. By building a clearer picture of the candidate, it becomes a priceless tool in advising the best way of managing them once they’ve started.
With modern reference forms and checklists taking the place of past processes, you might think face-to-face reference checks are a thing of the past. Although it will never be feasible to be on the road chasing references for everyone, the benefits of such an approach are threefold. Not only is it a great relationship building opportunity to sit in front of an employer that you don’t know well, but it also shows them how much you value the process. And you have the extra benefit of being able to see whether their body language is congruent with what they’re telling you.
The benefits of reference checking cannot be understated. So, if your organisation is guilty of treating them as an admin burden or a box-ticking episode, then it might be time to invest more time in this part of the hiring process. If you’d like to discuss this topic further, or to find out more about working with us, get in touch here.