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You’re interested in a candidate and want to do some reference checks. But you want to be sure you know the dos and don’ts. We have all the details you need regarding this critical phase of the hiring process here. We’ve covered everything from what reference checks include to why they’re important. So settle down and get ready to learn about reference checks and how they might aid in hiring. Let’s get going!


Key takeaways

Follow through to learn more about:

  1. Personal and professional reference checks
  2. Getting around the ‘no reference policy’
  3. What you can and can’t say
  4. Additional tips for reference checks 


1. Personal and professional reference checks

There are two primary categories of reference checks: personal references and professional checks. 

  • Personal references are people who haven’t worked closely with the applicant but who nevertheless offer practical observations of their morals, traits, and personality. These people could be close friends, role models, or neighbors familiar with the applicant personally.
  • On the other hand, professional references are usually past employers, customers, coworkers, or supervisors who have had first-hand experience dealing with the candidate. They can offer insight into the applicant’s professionalism, work ethic, aptitude, and attitude.

Employers acquire a complete knowledge of the candidate’s qualities, capabilities, and compatibility by contacting personal and professional references. It’s like assembling a puzzle, combining several viewpoints to create a whole.


2. Getting around the ‘no reference policy’

A “no reference policy” can be tricky to understand, but don’t worry! Even without the usual reference checks, there are still ways to learn important details about a candidate. One possibility is investigating alternate sources, such as online professional networks like LinkedIn.

Furthermore, you may understand a candidate’s professional reputation by looking at their connections, endorsements, and recommendations. In-depth interviews and focused questions regarding their prior experiences can also yield insightful information about a person’s abilities, work ethic, and attitude.

Additionally, use your own network as well. Contact any coworkers or friends you share who may have previously worked with the candidate. Although it can take a little more work, it is possible to get past a “no reference policy.”


3. What you can and can’t say

When conducting reference checks, it’s crucial to know what you may and may not say about a candidate. Even though you want to obtain as much information as possible, you must adhere to moral and legal requirements.

  • Generally, you can discuss a candidate’s work ethic, talents, and reliability.
  • However, you should refrain from discussing private concerns like their health, family, or offensive subjects.
  • It’s critical to concentrate on factual observations rather than personal judgments.

Remember that your objective is to obtain pertinent data to make an informed hiring decision, not to probe into personal information. You must conduct reference checks that offer insightful information while respecting privacy and fairness by acting professionally and abiding by the law.


Two people sitting together and reviewing a CV for reference checks


4. Additional tips for reference checks

Talking to the right people

When conducting reference checks, talking to the right people is essential.

  • Seek out people who have recently and directly dealt with the candidate professionally.
  • Former managers, supervisors, or coworkers collaborating closely with the candidate can offer insightful opinions.
  • Avoid relying exclusively on the candidate’s references because they might only have good things to say.
  • Contact people who could have worked with the candidate or have a different viewpoint.

Making an informed hiring decision will help you understand the candidate’s skills, capabilities, and potential development areas.


Protecting the candidate’s privacy

The candidate’s privacy must be prioritized and protected when doing reference checks. Only communicate pertinent information to those engaged in the hiring process on a need-to-know basis. Maintain sensitive information’s secrecy and ensure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

 Respecting the candidate’s privacy not only shows professionalism but it also fosters trust and keeps your company’s reputation in good standing. Moreover, keep in mind that reference checks should be done with an eye toward protecting the candidate’s personal and professional privacy while acquiring unbiased information to help with decision-making.


Asking the right questions

Knowing what to ask when running reference checks is important. To acquire precise and pertinent information, go beyond general queries and tailor your questions. Inquire about the applicant’s accomplishments, potential for growth, and problem-solving techniques.

Ask them about the candidate’s working methods, teamwork skills, and general dependability. You can get insightful knowledge by probing carefully thought-out questions beyond the obvious.

Take notes and pay attention carefully to get the most out of your listening experience. By asking the proper questions, you can learn more about a candidate’s abilities, work ethic, and possible fit with your organization.


Conclusion on reference checks

In conclusion, reference checks are a crucial part of the hiring process, providing valuable insights into a candidate’s abilities, work ethic, and compatibility. To make informed recruiting decisions and assemble an effective team, remember that it all comes down to acquiring unbiased information. Consider reference checks powerful and use them as a key tool in your hiring process.

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