by: Ian K. McEwen
A key part of the hiring process is checking the references for the preferred candidate. This is where you obtain relevant information about the job applicant’s past performance and accomplishments, and verify the information given to you. In most cases, a decision to hire a new employee has already been made, and the reference check is used to validate the hiring decision. Remember, YOU should make the final hiring decision, not someone external to your organization. It is important to obtain an objective opinion of a candidate’s knowledge, skills, experiences, values and work habits to ensure a good fit with your organization.
At the Marckis Group, we recommend using a full circle approach to reference checking. Obtain references from the candidate’s present or former supervisor, a colleague and a third party, possibly a subordinate if appropriate for the job. References should be those who have recently worked directly with the applicant. This presents a more comprehensive picture. We emphasize that human rights legislation applies to both reference checking and interviewing. To protect your dealership, you should obtain a signed consent to collect information about a candidate’s employment performance, academic credentials, and professional licenses or designations. Contacting references from a current employer without consent could seriously jeopardize both you and the candidate especially if the current employer is unaware that the candidate is job searching.
Don’t make an employment offer subject to satisfactory references. References should be checked much earlier in the hiring process. An offer of employment, even a verbal one, is legally binding. Making an offer contingent on a positive reference check creates a legal relationship between you and the candidate. If an offer is revoked, you may have to explain how the reference influenced your decision, which places both you and the reference provider in a legally difficult position.
Here are a few tips in conducting reference checks:
So what can I, and what should I, ask the reference?
Talking with the right people and asking the right questions are critical. Make sure your questions relate to the position and are not too subjective. You are looking for quantifiable and verifiable information or measurable results.
Here are some reference questions:
Using proper reference checking techniques will improve your hiring practices, save you money, improve employee morale, and increase your dealership’s overall performance.