All You Wanted to Know About Reference Checks

Continuing the series, we will look at reference checks in this post.

Reference checks aim to verify the references for the employee and get additional feedback about the candidate’s performance, capabilities, character, and behaviour.

Employers typically do reference checks by asking the candidate for two to three references (mostly from academic/professional domains) and then either calling up these references or sending a questionnaire over email. The points covered in the feedback can vary depending upon the job profile, seniority, and nature of responsibilities. Some of the points for professional reference check can be:
• Nature and duration of association
• Candidate’s skills
• Candidate’s attitude
• Candidate’s performance, result orientation
• Candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
• Candidate’s behaviour and character
• Any issues encountered

The risk associated with selecting references given by candidate is that the claimed reference may be fake/decoy, planted by the candidate to fool the verification exercise. The recommended way to mitigate this risk is to search for references independently. Business networks like LinkedIn and Ryze can be used for such searches. This approach while being more reliable, adds to the effort and time required to complete the reference checks.

Our recommendation: Verify at least two professional references for every candidate. Try to cover as many bullet points (mentioned above) as possible. Try to get at least one reference through independent means.

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