Make Sure Your Next Hire Isn’t a Monster in Disguise

Halloween is right around the corner, but nothing is scarier than finding out your new hire isn’t what he claimed to be!

A reference check is an important step in ensuring hiring success by weeding out imposters. It allows you to talk to past supervisors to determine if:

·         your candidate has been honest about his work history and qualifications;

·         has the skills to do the job;

·         will mesh with your corporate culture.

Here are tips for conducting a thorough reference check that provides the vital information you need to know – and keeps you from hiring a monster in disguise:

Be consistent. Create formal reference procedures that you apply to every candidate in the same way. Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process understands your policy and is properly trained.

Cast a wider net. Ask the candidate for additional references you can call. Obtain the names of managers and co-workers beyond who is included on the candidate’s reference list, to increase your chances of getting a legitimate review of his performance (instead of pre-planned endorsements).

Prepare questions to ask. Most of your reference-check questions should be specific and aversion-based:

·         Can you give me examples of this applicant reacting to criticism?

·         Why is this individual no longer with your company?

·         In what areas could this candidate improve?

If the hiring manager is not conducting reference checks himself, ask for his input to develop additional questions specific to the position.

Always ask follow-up questions. To deepen your understanding, follow up with probing questions (“Why?” “Can you provide me with an example?” “Can you tell me, specifically, why you say that?”). Requiring references to back up their assertions with examples can help you assess the veracity of their statements.

Clear your schedule – and your mind. Effective reference checks take time, so block off the required time to conduct them. Erase your biases about a candidate (favorable or unfavorable) before you make each phone call. There’s a lot you don’t know about your candidate, so you have to keep an open mind.

Convince references to be candidate. Some individuals you call won’t want to provide meaningful data on the candidate. Take the time to establish rapport and try to convince them to be honest with you.  

Beware of fake reference services. Applicant dishonesty is certainly nothing new, but candidates now have a powerful tool to make their fabrications even more convincing – fake reference services. For a fee, unethical job seekers can invent a job and employer and have the fake reference company impersonate a former supervisor or HR manager.

Recognize red flags. Is the candidate unable to provide additional references on the spot? Does the candidate’s work history match your needs a little too exactly? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is – so go with your gut and do some extra investigating.

Conducting effective reference checks is difficult and time-consuming. Why do it alone? PrideStaff can help you take the guesswork and risk out of the process. Our On Target fulfillment process eliminates chance and inconsistency, helping you to receive better quality candidates each and every time. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.