All hiring managers will agree that checking references is a crucial part of the hiring process. If it is so crucial however, why do some managers skip them, and why are retention rates not higher for candidates who had their references checked? The answer often is the path the hiring manager took when checking these references. The mistake often originates when hiring managers treat them like just an item to check off the list, rather than as a genuinely valuable part of the assessment process. At EnergyPowerLab, we offer the option to check candidate references before we send the candidate to you for an interview, or before a second interview. We offer this service because we have the experience and skills to conduct a reference check with your goals and company culture in mind. Not only are we looking for any red flags from former employers but we also are looking for more subtle aides in finding the right fit.
CVs can be augmented and with a little coaching any candidate can become a masterful interviewer. The information gleaned from a reference check can be the make or break for any candidate. What about fake references? It is certainly not unheard of for a candidate to ask friends to pose as past bosses and give them a glowing recommendation. We do our due diligence by contacting references on their professional landlines and connecting with them on LinkedIn to make sure we’re talking to the right person.
When we request references from a candidate we specifically request to speak to the people who actually supervised them. Ideally we speak to 2-3 work-related references – no parents or professors. If the candidate’s current employer does not know they are seeking other options, we go to previous employers. Many references are quick to offer glowing reviews of candidates – we try to ask questions that can highlight any troubles they may not offer up; the most important question: would you hire them again? We also focus on open-ended questions that give us a chance to put together a clearer picture of the candidate.
Time-management, conflict-management, and where the candidate shines are all areas we cover. Through reference checks we can create a portrait of the candidate that helps us find any red-flags in both their work history and their fit within your organization. Even something as small as what kind of schedule a candidate keeps, or how well they communicate or take initiative can be the factor that means success at your firm. We use our reference check service to make sure the candidate has a high probability of success for you and your firm.