While the story of Australian retail giant being duped by a bogus resume has become a distant memory, we recently had an incident of our own which highlights the importance of reference and verification checks before employing anyone.
Our Operations Manager was notified by an industry associate of a candidate in the Perth marketplace – let’s call him Mr X - promoting himself as a Senior IT Recruitment Consultant with several years’ experience with none other than ourselves. Mr X had never worked for Titan Recruitment, and this didn’t turn out to be an issue for this potential employer as Mr X was caught out and left red-faced, after they requested a reference from us.
Reference checks provide the opportunity to garner independent information on a candidate’s previous on the job performance, and validates information provided by the candidate. It is one of the most important steps in the selection process.
An effective reference check provides the opportunity to get a greater insight into the candidate’s skills, knowledge and experience. It also allows us to gets tips on how we may manage that individual, along with exploring any flags raised in the interview process.
In an effort to refresh ourselves on the art of reference checking – and there is a knack to it - here are our top 6 tips for conducting an effective check:
1. Speak to the right person: Advise candidates that referees submitted must have supervised them in a professional capacity. Ask the candidate to provide people from previous employers that would add most value. Where possible contact the referee through the company switchboard to ensure you are speaking to the correct person.
2. Be prepared and effective: Create a list of questions that match the key selection criteria of the role which will help in making the final assessment for a ‘right fit’ for the client and the position. Questions should prompt discussion about the candidates past experience, abilities, work ethic and behaviour.
3. Ask open-ended questions: Some referees may be hesitant to talk about weaknesses, so ask questions that require the referee to expand. For example a question on leadership skills may be “How would you describe Jill’s ability to influence people – can you give an example of how she got key decision makers behind a concept she was passionate about?”
4. Let them speak: Allow the referee to finish answering the question, and don’t put words into their mouth. If you’re still left wondering, probe further until you are satisfied with the response.
5. Want Information, not just compliance: Don't simply do the reference so you can tick the box that you have completed two checks. You want to learn and understand this candidate. You need to be confident that the employer will have a contributing performer and that the individual will succeed and prosper in the job. You want to be excited that this is the right job match for both parties.
6. Finish with a resounding question: A good way to finish the interview is by asking “would you re-employ Jill to work for you again?” Alternatively give a brief summary of the position that you are considering the candidate for and ask for the referee’s opinion of the candidate’s suitability for the role (or area that would need to be managed). Any hesitation in answering should prompt a red flag and be explored with a further question; or if the response is positive you can finish your call with confidence.
As part of our due diligence, Titan’s Recruitment Consultants undertake comprehensive verbal reference and resume checks to verify the information that a candidate provides is accurate and confirms their abilities. It’s a vital part of our service delivery in being able to provide clients with independent insights that will help them determine the right fit for the job.
Do you find reference checks cumbersome? There’s a way to make it easy and effective while saving you time and money. Titan Recruitment offers as part of its unbundled solution, Reference and Background checks. For more information contact us.