One of the most important parts of hiring a new employee is reference checking. Below are DPSM’s 5 tips to ensure your reference checking process is hitting the mark. It is said that the cost of a bad hire is 30% of their first year’s earnings, let’s ensure this doesn’t happen!
Take reference checking seriously
A few lines from an ex-employer is not going to cut the mustard… “Would you mind sending me a few lines on you experience working with Joe Blogs?”. If you don’t take the process seriously, neither will the person giving you the reference. Build a reference template, and stick to it for any hires you make.
Areas to include:
- Job Title
- Dates the candidate worked there
- Their responsibilities
- Customised questions raised from the interview process:
Conduct a 360-degree reference
Always ask the candidate for AT LEAST two referees. Ideally you want to speak to three or four people whom worked closely with or supervised the candidate in their last two positions. If you would like to take a reference from someone not on the candidate’s CV, always ask for permission prior to doing so, especially if coming from their current organisation!
Strategic Reference Questions
Be strategic with your questioning. You are looking to find out specific information from previous supervisors/colleagues that is directly relatable to the position you are offering to the candidate, ensuring they are the right person for the job.
- What are the core competencies of the position you are offering? Find out how Joe Blogs performed in these areas in his/her pervious position
- What did the candidate say his/her strong skills were? Timeliness, work ethic, decision making? Ask the Referee what he feels his/her strongest skills are?
Let the referee speak
The last thing you want to do is put words in their mouth, don’t interrupt their train of thought with comments such as “but they were very timely, weren’t they?”. Be to the point with your questions, and give the referee the opportunity to answer in their own fashion, uninterrupted.
I always like to finish on the question, “Would you re-employ Joe Blogs?”. You can tell a fair bit from the answer given… “Ummmmm, yes”, or “Absolutely, no question about it”. For the first answer, I’d be questioning their hesitation.
Enjoy your recruiting!
If you would like to find out more about DPSM’s services please visit www.dpsmconsultants.com and they would be delighted to answer any questions you might have.