Secrets to Reference Checking Success: Part II
In Part I of this series, we divulged a few recommendations for updating the reference checking process and improving your odds of success. If you haven’t already checked it out, just click here to take a peek. Today, we’ll be giving away three more simple suggestions that can make a big impact on your stress level and quality of hire.
Even with the recommendations from Part I, you may still come across the rare instance in which the information provided by references isn’t all that useful for really gauging the candidate’s personality and behavior. Sometimes this is a result of candidate coaching, other times it may be the product of merely bad timing. Regardless, you have a back-up plan: social media. Using sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to track down additional references is acceptable, if not altogether wise!
Don’t be afraid to put the candidate himself in the hot seat. Questioning candidates as if they were their own reference can be a fantastic tactic for investigating the individual’s self-awareness. After scanning their resume, pull the names of some former supervisors and ask the candidate what they think those supervisors would say about them. A subtle reminder that you may in fact speak with these individuals can improve the honesty of the response.
Finally, before picking up the line to contact any references, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of prep work. What is it you want to know? What’s the most effective way to ask about X or Y? Remember that references respond well to specificity. While we want to avoid mere “yes” or “no” answers, our goal is also to keep the conversation from meandering. By creating an outline of questions, we can do so more effectively.
The great thing about these hints is that a) they’re free – unless you feel like sending us a tip – and b) you can pick and choose which you feel most comfortable implementing. In other words, you needn’t jump into the puddle of change with both feet to start seeing some real benefits.
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