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Applications of Reference Checks in Selection Process

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Published: Thu, 14 Jun 2018

Discuss the reasons for carrying out reference checks and the effective ways to conduct it during the selection process.

Based on numerous assessment methods available on hiring employees, reference checks are deemed vital as it is seen as a powerful tool that generates and gathers useful reports of knowledge on any applicant’s previous working history in terms of their accomplishment and history. A successful reference guiding process depends almost heavily on the principle which is based on behavioral consistency. This simply is because it is believed to be the most reliable principle based on analyzing and forecasting the future behavior of applicants in terms of job performance and also based on previous behavioral working history. Not only does this method guarantees choosing future candidates with a strong background of history in terms of previous history of job-related performances, referencing checking aids managers to determine and exclude future candidates that are known to have histories of inappropriate and unacceptable workplace related behaviors. References that are properly conducted according to standard operating procedures aid organizationsin verifying successful job predictions and determining the right qualifications that helps put everything in place in order to make sure the selected organization manages to get the right person to fill in the job vacancy. This is important as by failing to obtain the right future employee will result in a lot of lost in terms of finance, time and the fact of maybe having to face a lawsuit for dismissing the candidate prematurely.

A reference check which is well structured is a well-organized evaluation of a candidate’s previous job work-related performances. This is based upon exchanging dialogs with previous co-workers of the future candidate. Like any other pre-employment interviews, reference checking is at its optimum levels when it is coordinated to be structured perfectly along with the integration of thoughts into the potential hiring process. A well-structured check is almost a hundred percent, if not more successful than carrying out an informal conversation with the candidate’s previous co-workers. This is because it helps to gather useful information that will boost the hiring manager’s confidence based upon the results that he or she will obtain and at the same time, a well-organized referencing check will help to enhance any legal dispute that may occur in the near future. The following are the multiple options that can be structured besides the standard ‘having a casual conversation’ .This can be shaped to be a successful tool that can easily be made to assess candidates with ease. But before that, what are some of the purposes of having to conduct references check you may ask? Well, one of the most important steps of planning process is to determine various purpose of having a reference check. This will help in 2 major ways; Firstly, this will help aid the various types of information that needs to be collected and stored and secondly, the process that will be conducted in order to obtain it . The data that is collected from reference checks may ultimately serve three different means. First and foremost, it helps to verify the truth behind the initial information that has been given by the candidates during their interview, on their application forms and lastly on their resume. Next, the data collected by reference checks helps in unveiling signs of undesirable and unacceptable previous history of behavioral work pattern. Last but not least, this method helps to determine the amount of development that the future candidate may require in terms of setting up future extra training to help fill in the ‘training-gap’ in order for the candidate to help achieve the goals and vision of the hiring organization.

Now, back to the examples of various means of reference checks; Job related, the aim is to concentrate on the candidate’s abilities to perform the task and job that are stated along the lines from the statement of merit criteria. Organizing the check over this criterion gives a more detailed forecast of future job abilities .Observation, any information that is going to be provided by a referee has to be based on experience or observation or previously working with the candidate. This allows the referee to utilize his experience to further support the candidate by commenting on the abilities and performance of the candidate from their previous job. Standardize, A set of standard equal questions are asked toward all referees in all appointment procedures. This method ensures that there is a fair ‘playing field’ for all candidates and that they are respected and treated as one, equally. Behavioral focused, Almost all reference checks becomes more liberal and any judgementing errors are greatly reduced simply by focusing on behaviors that are work-related. By asking proper questions and differentiating proper information with skills ensures that any fraudulent image pictured by the candidates is gunned down. Legal Defense, This has developed to become one of the greatest aspect that should be considered by all firms simply to be at the right side of the law and to be protected just incase of any unforeseen circumstances in the future. A detailed and proper reference check will help enable any organization to ensure that they uphold the requirements met by the government in their respective region.

Reference checking is deemed as one of the final steps before actually considering hiring an actual candidate and it is important if not more important compared to the previous steps of the initial selection stages. It is vital that the outcome of this step is dealt directly with the ability of the candidate to perform the job required to do accordingly. It is important to plan basic questions that will allow you to ask the referee of the applicants and questions that will be directed directly to the applicants as well. Moreover, if the organization is dealing with more than 1 candidate, then specific questions should be prepared before hand as it will help to clarify any problems specifically towards each and every candidate respectively. As always, it is always better to prepare beforehand so that the time is saved and everything is checked before making the final decision. In order to conduct a proper standard of record keeping, its almost advisable to create a reference form that will include the name of the interviewer, the name of the candidate, the time and date , position that the applicant is applying for and last but not least, their previous workplace name. A standard set of questions should be included as well and the form should have sufficient space for addition notes that you will take down during their response to the questions that will be asked.

One of the effective ways to conduct referencing checks is to conduct an interview with the potential candidates. Questions should be asked like they are asked in any other interviews regarding their pass experiences, ask questions regarding to their ability of carrying out the job given, their general thoughts on the job ,the output that they are willing to commit to , the ability to work with other employees regardless of their gender or race, their ability to get along with higher ranked employees who might not be easy going etc. Bear in mind that the reason is to extract vital information from the potential candidate. A clear picture of the candidate’s strengths and weakness should be gathered as the interview is conducted in order to finalized the referencing check. A referee that is brought in maybe interviewed as well in order to get a clear picture of the candidate’s pass job related experience and behavior. Another common step in conducting a referencing check is by verifying their education background. If the job scope requires a candidate with a strong education background, then it is almost required to firstly, contact the school register system in order to verify the validity of the certification. Next, it is important to contact the university or college of the candidate to verify their higher education degree. The last step to conduct a successful referencing checks is to hire an investigation team to conduct a criminal record search on the potential candidate. As mentioned earlier, a job with a higher job scope that will allow future employees to deal directly with customers definitely requires a proper security. Any applicant to the desired job should be required to sign off a waiver of any claims regarding the final outcome of the investigation. If say the background check comes back positive, then it should be forwarded to the organization’s legal counsel team for them to determine if the candidate is fit for the job or not .

To summarize it, I feel that the importance of conducting referencing checks during any selection process is extremely vital. Not only will this allow any organization to employ the most suitable candidates for the job posting but it will help to prevent any organization from losing money in terms of facing law suits or time , in terms of conducting extra unnecessary training to fill In the training gaps that are require to carry out the initial job postings. There are several issues regarding this step in recent days and one of the main factors is that former employees especially in developed countries are almost reluctant to comment on their previous workers as they fear facing potential lawsuits. I believe, that in order to get the perfect candidate for the job, smaller companies , or in fact companies that works around their clients hand-in-hand which requires employees to enter their home , office etc. ( as in technicians, teachers , etc ) should consider outsourcing their reference checks to external companies in order for their future employees to be checked thoroughly from every aspect.


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