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4 Reference Checking Tips for Candidates



Understanding Reference Checks When Applying for A Job

What's the next step after you've given that nail biting interview?

It's a thorough check by your prospective employer on your employment history to verify if the information in your in-person interview is as you say it is. 

Most recruiters prefer an online reference checking mechanism which replaces the manual intervention of calling up referees to verify information shared at the time of an interview.  

If you’re curious about the process and would like to understand better what to do if you are a candidate applying for a job, we’ve put together some tips and insights about online reference checking to help you out.

Be mindful that the recruitment process for the company that you’re applying to could be different.

A professional reference is a reflection on a candidate's performance

An online reference check link includes questions about your employment history such as roles and responsibilities managed, work ethic, capability of handling certain tasks, etc.

The objective of recruiters and hiring managers is to gauge if you’re the right fit for the role based on your past work history.

Online reference checking is becoming the norm in the process of recruiting. Since the process is online, automated and can be done outside of working hours, referees are happy to submit the information required. 

What is a professional reference?

A professional reference is a reflection on a candidate's performance from a person who can vouch for the qualifications for a particular job.

Typically a person who has worked closely with you in one of your past roles and can affirm your productive capacity and skills.

If you are a recent graduate you could ask your professors or coaches. Volunteering references are acceptable too, however it is a good idea to first check with the volunteer organisation if they would be willing to provide a reference as sometimes it might be against their policy.

4 Useful Tips to Remember for Your Reference Checks

If you have been told that the next step of your hiring process is to get your references checked, here are four useful tips to remember:

1. Provide professional references. Here are some people you can include on your list of professional references. 

  • Former employer
  • Former supervisor
  • Former colleague
  • Organisations you’ve volunteered for

Unsure if your references are appropriate? Maybe it's a good idea to recheck with the recruiter who you’re in touch with. Personal contacts such as immediate family members (spouse, siblings) and BFF’s may not be such a great idea to give as references. 

2. Inform your referees in advance. Let them know that they will be receiving an email to avoid any delays or declines. Here is a post on FAQ’s your referees may have. 

3. Faking references is a bad idea. Most online reference checking solutions abide by strict compliances and are built to detect and flag any fraud. These red flags come under the employers radar and could dampen your prospects with the employer. Fraud references may have short term and long term implications, we suggest you avoid creating fake profiles or references. Here is a blog for employers on how you can avoid bad hires.

4. Do not panic. Reference checks are due diligence done by recruiters to ensure that they hire the right candidate for their organisation. They are not the reason to disqualify a candidate; they simply reconfirm facts shared in most cases during the interview. Hiring managers also use the reference checking process as a tool to get to know their future hires better.

What really happens in our Xref Reference Checking Process?

Our online reference checking process is very simple and it can be summarised in 3 steps:

Step 1: Your prospective employer sends you a link where you need to fill in the details of your referees along with their contact details and the dates you’ve worked with them. 

Step 2: You fill in the required details. Be sure to inform your references in advance that they will be receiving an email to avoid any delays or declines. Occasionally the email can end up in the wrong folder, so it’s important that your referee is expecting the email.  

Step 3: You click on submit and wait for the automated reference check to complete its course.

Once your referees submit details, both you and your prospective employer will receive an email notification. The employer will then be in touch with you regarding the next steps in the hiring process. Most often employers ask for 2-3 references. 

If you’d like to know more about online reference checking, be sure to check out some of our other blogs. We’ve been in the recruitment industry for almost a decade and have heaps of recruiter and candidate insights on reference checking. Xref is an online reference checking platform designed to be user friendly both for the candidate and the recruiter, our software fast tracks the candidate hiring process. 

More resources available

Xref Online Reference Checking FAQs for Candidates

Xref Online Reference Checking FAQs for Employers

Reference questionnaire template text with branded shapes
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