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In the excitement that follows finding the right candidate, employers often forget that the reference checking process is an integral recruitment tool. However, in order to gather the right insights and be sure that you are making the right hiring decision based on your reference check, it is vital to ensure that you ask the right questions.
When reference checks are conducted using traditional methods (such as by phone or email), it is difficult to guarantee the consistency of the questions asked with every check. Online reference checking software platforms ensure that you ask the right questions every time.
There are a number of reasons why the reference check questions you ask are so important:
A lack of standardisation in employment reference checking leaves organisations open to risk. Getting the process right is critical to ensuring you get the best people through the door before they go elsewhere.
In order to determine if your reference checks are flawless, let's first have a look at what a flawless process would include:
Traditional, manual reference checking processes present pitfalls in terms of governance, compliance and due diligence. In addition, the traditional manual reference checking process is time-consuming. While some candidates are willing to manipulate their applications to improve their chances of securing the job, the inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the employer’s reference checking processes could be limiting the success of their recruitment journey.
A great reference check template will include questions that follow a number of best practices:
1. Determine the relationship between candidate and referee
The questions asked must determine the relationship between the candidate and referee, help the employer understand the applicant and accurately assess the candidate’s prior performance. Once you know how the applicant and the referee are connected, you’ll be better able to judge how reliable and relevant the information they’re providing is and how it relates to their new role. (Useful examples of questions here)
2. Verify details of previous role and performance
Verifying whether the applicant’s previous job title, responsibilities, remuneration and dates of employment are accurate will help employers understand the candidate. Asking a referee to describe the candidate’s overall employment performance, identify their core competencies or any areas that they should focus on and establish why they left their previous organisation will allow an accurate assessment of prior performance.
In some roles, verifying these details comes down to more than just understanding what a candidate is capable of. Organisations in the healthcare, aged care and NFP industries, for example, have a duty of care to the potentially vulnerable people they support. Ensuring that they hire the right staff is not just about performance but about validating that they are able and qualified to deliver the right level of care and service required.
3. Avoid discriminatory questions
With diversity and inclusion being so important in the workplace, it is also necessary to ensure the reference checking questions avoid discriminatory connotations. The conversational nature of a phone-based reference check can lead to discriminatory questions slipping into the mix. Having a standard set of questions that have been verified to ensure they are non-discriminatory is crucial to ensuring all candidates are given a fair chance of securing the role.
4. Understand data compliance
It is important to understand the new regulations in different countries when it comes to the management of personal information of candidates. We have a good article here that talks about GDPR regulations. For reference checking data management, it is required to have written permission from the candidate to conduct and employment check or skills survey; regulations require a trackable process responsible for protecting personal data privacy.
Choosing the right questions at the referencing stage can help you uncover hidden potential and make great hires. But first, your questionnaires must be carefully crafted to ensure you gather the best insights to infirm your hiring decisions.
Remember, for reference checking success, your question must be:
Xref can help you create a questionnaire that is compliant and effective, try our template questionnaire for free. Simply name the role, select your industry and choose the core competencies you are looking for then Template Builder will create a questionnaire tailored to the position. Since 2011, we’ve been consulting with businesses globally to build reference templates that include the right questions to help them uncover candidate potential and hire with confidence. Book a demo if you want to know more about Xref.