10 Reasons Why You Should Be Checking References

By Eddie Earnest

There seems to be an ongoing debate as to the efficacy of checking references of job candidates. Admittedly, the once standard pre-hire practice of checking references has long been questioned from a time-invested to valuable-data-attained perspective. I attribute this primarily to three things. First, as we moved our primary mode of communication online (email), getting individuals on the phone has become coincidentally more difficult. Next, legal concerns have prevented many individuals from commenting on specifics regarding a past employees’ performance. Lastly, somewhere along the line it became expected of a reference (from a candidate viewpoint) to provide a prospective employer with nothing but overly glowing sentiments about them.

Now, with new technology solutions and reference checking formats in place, I can’t think of a good reason not to embrace this age-old practice. After all, if there’s a means to information about someone you’re considering hiring, you’d be absorbing unnecessary risk by choosing not to review it. (It’s a bit like willfully hiring blind…)

Without further ado, here are my 10 reasons why every company should be checking references:

1. The data cites not checking references as a top 5 reason why hires don’t work out.

2. Checking references is also a good way to validate resume/employment data.

3. Despite improvements in skill/knowledge verification, there is no better way than reference checking to gauge a prospect’s personal character.

4. Technological innovations have made reference checking extremely efficient.

5. LinkedIn Recommendations are not viewed as credible sources of reference data, due to the fact that comments are overly one-sided (positive) in nature.

6. Generally speaking, the more data you have on a candidate, the better – and everyone has a history.

7. Past workplace behavior is the best predictor of future workplace behavior.

8. Skills can be learned, character traits assessed in a reference check – on the other hand – run much deeper and are difficult to change.

9. A failure to check references may open your organization up to negligent hiring lawsuits stemming from bad hiring decisions.

10. How a candidate has maintained relationships with past employers matters. Good relationships foster good business.

Original posted on seedRef.