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You’ve recruited qualified candidates for your open position, gone through the interview process, had each candidate complete an assessment, and narrowed your search down to just a few candidates. One of the last steps you need to take before making an offer to one of those candidates is conducting reference checks.
Reference checks are important because they help ensure you have the most qualified person for the job.
You should not rely on your gut. Since past performance is the best indicator of future performance, reference checks can give you the assurance and confidence you need to identify the right person for your open seat.
Why Reference Checks?
Reference checks are a great way to hear first-hand about your candidates’ strengths, weaknesses, problem-solving skills and work habits by someone who actually witnessed them. You can confirm the impression you got from the candidate’s interview, as well as the employment and job responsibility facts they provided.
Who Should Provide Reference Checks?
It’s best to ask your candidates for the names of two supervisors, two direct reports, and two peers who could serve as their references. This will help you learn more about your candidate as a manager, employee and team member.
How Should You Conduct Reference Checks?
To conduct useful, quality, and informative reference checks, VisionSpark recommends you take the following steps:
Step 1. Make a list of questions.
The questions should address the candidate’s experience, success, leadership skills, strengths and weaknesses, and other skill sets related to the Position Profile. Have a similar set of questions for each person you talk to so you have a consistent framework from which to make a decision. The questions may vary slightly depending on if you are speaking with their supervisor, a team member or a subordinate. And of course, the questions should be legal, job-related and appropriate.
Step 2. Call the references.
Introduce yourself, explain why you are calling, and mention that the candidate has given you permission to contact the reference. Give a brief description of the role the candidate has applied for and ask open-ended, specific questions about the candidate’s skills and job performance. Ask how they know the candidate, and how long they’ve known them for. Don’t forget to include questions about the candidates’ soft skills, such as social/emotional skills to help you determine if they will fit your culture.
If the candidate was interviewed by internal team members, be sure to ask them what their thoughts and impressions were and look for any red flags.
Step 3. Make Your Offer.
Take a look at the reference check responses and determine if the information they provided confirms or contradicts your impression of the candidate. Use the reference checks—along with their resume and interview—to determine which candidate you want to hire.
VisionSpark has years of experience uniting companies with their Superstars. If you need assistance with identifying the right person for the right seat, choosing an assessment, conducting reference checks, onboarding, or any other part of the hiring process, contact VisionSpark! We can help you Hire With Confidence™!