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Reference Checking

Is reference checking worth the time and effort to complete? Many say that reference checking is a waste of time, but completed correctly, it can assist to confirm your decision….or confirm the red flags you had about the candidate.

We recommend you complete reference checking on your final candidate. If you have two great applicants and you are really not sure which is best, reference checking can assist.

It is important to remember that reference checking should only be completed with the referees provided by the candidate and where possible the referees should always be the direct manager or supervisor to the candidate. It is also good practice to ask the candidate to contact their referees in advance of your call so as the referee is prepared for providing a reference. When speaking to the referee, always ask if it is a suitable time to chat, with the call lasting about 10-15 minutes at most.

When reference checking try not to ask too many yes or no questions, just like in an interview, ask open questions to get the referee talking. Shorter response topics that are good to start with are dates of employment, role within the business, reason for leaving and whether they would re-employ. Always ask for more information if they say no they would not re-employ.

With such a strong team environment within practices, it is good business to try to ascertain how well the candidate will fit into your team. Talking to the referee about your team’s dynamics and asking how they believe the candidate will fit into such a team can be a good way to confirm their fit within your practice.

Never be afraid to ask the hard questions including whether there were any concerns on performance, whether the referee believes that the candidate has any areas for development and the main strength they bring to the work team.

To assist you in working with the candidate this is also a great time to ask someone who knows, i.e. the referee, about the management style the candidate best responds to and then be honest with yourself as to whether that fits with your style.

Reference checking is all about getting to know your preferred candidate before you offer for the role. You can address any concerns in ability that were raised during the interview as well as fit for your team and practice.

Reference checking correctly can be daunting for some managers, Prime Practice HR Solutions provides a standalone service of two reference checks completed for your final candidate, details here.


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