Employer Reference Checks
Its a pivotal moment for all employers when they have finally waded their way through the process of advertising, pre-selecting and interviewing and find themselves with the perfect candidate for…
Its a pivotal moment for all employers when they have finally waded their way through the process of advertising, pre-selecting and interviewing and find themselves with the perfect candidate for the role. Their prospective employee is great fit in every way; educated, skilled, professional, likeable, the list goes on, or, at least this is how they’ve come across. All that’s left to do is a reference check, but everyone knows that candidates only list contacts who will give them a good rep. Employer reference checks only serve to reinforce what hiring managers already apparently know, or do they?
Unfortunately, not everyone is as honest as they may come across. Despite the effort it entails, a reference check is vital before extending that offer. Research shows that over 50% of today’s job seekers are embellishing their resume’s, and they’re not just lying about their age. It’s commonly known for crafty job seekers to conjure up entire degrees, job titles, employment dates, technical skills and even volunteer work if it puts them ahead of the game. The task of the employer is to do a thorough reference check that will sort fact from fiction.
A decent reference check is worth it for the long term success of a company. If all goes well it ensures that an employer is hiring the right person, in the worst case scenario it will save a company from making a poor choice of hire. More often than not all it takes are some strategically placed questions – it’s unlikely for a referee to say anything bad about an employee, but they can be useful in confirming the facts. The following questions need to be considered:
Speaking to an ex employer can be very telling about your prospective employee. If a referee is reluctant to offer anything more than the basic facts, it could imply that they have a negative opinion of the candidate. On the other hand, biased referees can give an overly positive impression of the candidate’s personality, but at least the reference check will confirm if someone has lied about their work experience.
Legally, a previous employer isn’t obliged to provide a reference check but if they do so, the information they give has to be 100% accurate. By giving false information they can end up liable if it leads to a company hiring an employee on unreliable information. Although it is not illegal for a candidate to lie on their CV, companies are within their rights to immediately dismiss an employee if they discover that the information they provided was false. This can be years after an candidate has been hired, which begs the question why do people do it in the first place?
More often than not a reference check will uncover a sort of gray area between fact and fiction. Candidates know that the best jobs have the highest competition, and their CV is the first way to get a foot in the door – an embellishment here and there can make a good resume, into an outstanding one. Employer reference checks can highlight the difference between a HR manager, and a HR assistant with managerial responsibilities – falsely inflated positions are one of the most common lies to be found on a CV.
Background research goes hand in hand with employer reference checks and generally requires a more thorough approach to the fact checking process, some of which are as follows:
Even if an employer merely calls one referee it can make a difference to the way they judge their prospective candidate. In the short term, a reference check can make or break a decision between the final interviewees, in the long run it can dramatically affect the future of a business. If a candidate has lied on their CV then the chances are they’re not 100% right for the job, and won’t be able to fulfill their duties. As one of the last steps in the hiring process, employer reference checks shouldn’t be avoided – it may well determine the choice of the right, or wrong hire. What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below to further the discussion.
Picture Source Flickr/Fizikal Rex