Somebody asked me about doing reference checks today and because it’s something I get asked about all the time, I thought I would share it out there for all of you.
The question was – Should we call references from a resume, given that most people would not supply one that would speak poorly of them? And secondly, do I have any tips on the subject. My answer was yes and yes.
Not calling references is the most common hiring mistake I see happens, and so it leads to my first tip.
Tip #1 – Always, always, always – make these calls.
It can’t hurt you and will often provide some useful information, if only to confirm what you already knew and remove any doubt you might have.
Tip #2 – Listen for what is not said, as well as what is said or for anything that sounds strange.
Most people don’t like to speak badly about someone, but they will stop short of praising someone they were not impressed with.
I recommend just two or three questions:
After confirming a few facts from the resume, like how long he worked there, the exact years, who he reported to (was it the person you are talking to?) the reason they gave for leaving….keep it short, I recommend only a couple of questions, which leads to tip number 3.
Tip #3 – Avoid closed ended questions that require only a yes or no answer.
How was your experience with this person?
Would you hire them again…would you mind sharing with me why or why not?
Thank them very much for their time.
Make a copy of this and stick it in your hiring system file, it will pay you dividends if you use it.
Clint Best is a business coach and the founder of Kaizen Business Coaching in Kelowna, BC. Clint has been guiding forward thinking business owners through change and growth since 2002.