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Have you called those references before making the job offer? If you haven’t it is time to take a step back and consider all implications. References aren’t just a formality, they are critical to ensure that you’re making the right hiring decision for your company. Here are a few ways you can get the information you need without causing yourself too much undue stress.

Require the candidate to provide contact information.

While you’re interviewing ask the candidate about references. Ask how recently they’ve spoken to the people on their list. Make sure the references have given permission and will be expecting a phone call. If not, suggest that the candidate call them first. If they refuse, this might be your first red flag.

Ask for information beyond dates of employment.

HR policies restrict many of their managers from answering beyond the dates of employment. However, this certainly won’t give you the right information to determine if you want to hire a candidate. Drill down to managers who are willing to answer a few questions. If you don’t find this, contact the candidate again to ask for their help.

Be polite and personable.

Don’t let the manager think that you’re an imposition when you make a phone call. Be polite, acknowledge the time they’re taking to talk to you, and ask about further business prospects. You never know what kind of relationship you can forge. This will help you get the best information about your potential candidate.

Verify letters of reference.

When a candidate provides a written letter of reference don’t take it at face value. While most of them are sincere, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Contact the writer of the letter and make sure they said and meant the things they shared.

Be cautious of red flags.

Many managers make vague statements to avoid potential backlash from former employees. These are usually an indicator of a problem. When a manager leaves out important information this can be a red flag. An overly glowing review may also be disingenuous. Always ask these two questions, “would you rehire them?” and “how can they improve.”

Looking for a staffing provider who can perform reference checks?

Three Pillar professional staffing and consulting can help. Contact our team of skilled recruiters today for more information!

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