Professional reference screening is often considered as a small tool of the hiring process; but it extends beyond compliance; especially when it’s all about asking some questions which seem meaningless but are catalysts for the hiring process.
Reference checking often produces “indispensable” information about the candidate because relevant external observers are capable of giving an accurate estimate of the candidate’s performance within the realm of your organisation, thus, expanding on the pertinence of candidate’s “strengths and limitations”.
We endeavour to assist clients with informed decision-making by assessing traits of the candidates like leadership skills by talking to former subordinates, analysing about the candidates’ professional orientation and influence mapping skills by talking to their peers.
Transparency & Approach
Reference calls are time-consuming but the key is to be patient and not to rush things. First, validate how the reference knows the candidate and ensure that it is not a blood relative (to avoid biased answers). On the other hand, interviewing peers, superiors and even subordinates is a very valuable 360-approach to examine a professional.
Additionally, our approach involves gathering as much information as possible about the candidate so that this helps our client determine the candidate’s suitability for the job and provide proper integration in the onboarding process.
Having a list of set questions and rating based answers are some of the common industry practices. As part of our process we tend to ask a series of open ended and specific questions such as “What can you tell me about the “candidate” remaining unbiased”.
A well-curated reference interview helps in identification of their soft skills and social and emotional intelligence based capabilities by focusing on the candidates self awareness and self regulation such as motivation levels, empathy, flexibility.
In reality there are no right and wrong answers that we expect from a referee; it is about learning whether the candidate is an adaptive fit for the client organisation as some organisations are collaborative, while others are more competitive. Thus, assessment of candidate – organisation compatibility is paramount.
Furthermore, where professional reference interviews are limited to confirmation of candidate’s title/role, our team resorts to informal reference interviews through networks of professional associations, personal networks and past employees. This is not circumvention of the HR structure rather a supplementation which taps on other human sources to gather vital candidate information.
More from Pre-Employment
A thorough and conscious effort by the Human Resource community is perhaps the answer to a plummeting job market and …
An up-and-coming business consultancy firm found itself getting morally and financially upset after it hired an aversive personality for the …