By Kate Broadley, Executive Manager Employee Selection Panel Assistance, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
Reference checking can be viewed as a mere formality, after all, the logic goes: Any references supplied by a candidate likely will give only glowing reviews. Wrong, reference checking is a vital part of the recruitment process that is designed to safeguard prospective employers from the risk of appointing a “bad egg”. In my experience reference checks are a critical part of a quality recruitment process and should not be viewed as a tedious administrative function. Bottom line – wrong hires can cost time, effort and money.
The reference check provides an opportunity to validate the client’s rationale to hire a candidate and check the validity of the claim’s the candidate has made as part of the selection process. In my experience this can be all about asking the referee the right questions – for example ensuring you ask questions aligned to the role description and/or selection criteria will help determine if the candidate will be a good fit with organisation and validate their technical suitability to the role.
Recently I have had a number of experiences while working with my clients, where the reference check has been instrumental in isolating issues that had not been identified in either the application, CV or interview process. Adopting a robust approach is the only way to ensure the skills and experience expressed by a candidate are legitimate.
References can also value add in terms of providing insights in relation to the candidate’s strengths and weakness, which can help clients with the on-boarding and professional development of new recruits, or even assist in determining the composition of the overall team, through matching different personalities and skill sets.
No one wants to be responsible for the wrong hire, so don’t shortcut your recruitment process, make sure a variety of recruitment tools have been utilised, with the final validation being a robust reference check.
Best wishes, Kate