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Stop! Before you extend that job offer have you completed the proper due diligence to vet your candidate? What about reference checks? If you haven’t called the list of former employers provided to you by the candidate you may be making a huge mistake. Reference checks shouldn’t be considered a formality or a nuisance, they are essential to the hiring process. Here are a few ways to make the process bearable and get the answers you need.

Ask the candidates about their communication with references.

During the interview process talk to the candidate about their references. Find out how recently they’ve spoken with them. Ask if the references have given permission to be called and if they will be expecting a phone call. If they are not, suggest that the employee contact them first before you can perform this step and without it they won’t be considered.

Go beyond dates of employment.

Many companies have an HR policy that they will only provide previous dates of employment on former employees. It is essential that you are able to make connections to managers and supervisors who can answer your questions about the employee’s performance on the job. If you run into a problem getting information, contact the candidate again and let them know where you stand.

Be personable when you contact a former employer.

It is also important to maintain a polite demeanor if you expect to get the best information. Acknowledge that you appreciate them taking the time to talk with you. Feel free to ask additional questions as well. You never know where a connection could take you and you may be talking to a future customer, especially if they speak highly of the person you’ve hired.

Always verify letters of reference.

Some candidates will provide letters of reference from previous employers. While it is hard to imagine that someone would provide false information, it is essential that you don’t take these documents at face value. At least contact the letter writer and verify they were the author.

Watch out for these red flags.

In order to avoid making negative comments about former employees, some managers will make vague statements. These can often mask real problems. The same may be true for a reference that is overly positive where the manager can’t think of anything the candidate could have improved on. When a manager refuses to give any real information, they may be hiding something. Always ask the question, “would you rehire them?”

Are you looking for a full service staffing provider to help with reference checks?

Anserteam provides references checks on all of our candidates prior to placing them on the assignment. Contact us today to learn more!