Employee background check lists should include a review of references. But to be strategic, you’ll want to think about how best to use references in recruitment. Here’s how.
Six tips for using references in an employee background check
1. Check references only when you’re serious about a candidate. Talking to references takes precious time – for you and the references – so it’s best saved for key candidates at least midway through the interview process. It can also make it hard for a candidate to keep their job search private, which may embarrass a candidate who doesn’t get the job – even though you’d like to keep them in mind for a future opening. If you’re unsure about a candidate early on, take another look at pre-employment screening.
2. Make a list of questions for all your references. Try to be consistent, so that you can compare responses.
3. Consider interviewing three to five references. It’s easy for many people to come up with one or two good references, but, for some candidates, it can be a challenge to list more.
4. Tell the reference what skills, experience and qualities you need – then ask them to tell you if and how the candidate meets the criteria.
5. Ask for examples of how the applicant works on the job and with other people. Sometimes, stories tell you more than a description of abilities ever can.
6. Find out how the reference worked with the candidate. Was the reference a supervisor, manager, team member, department member or a contact from elsewhere in the company? Check to see if they worked on any projects together and whether the reference actually had the chance to observe the candidate’s work and behaviour.
Related to employee background check
• Pre-employment screening
• Criminal checks
• Job reference checks: avoiding pitfalls in the job reference check process