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Candidate Reference Checks: Three Strategies to Implement

If you’re tasked with finding talent for your company, you know that a major part of hiring the right person involves comprehensive reference checks. Effective and thorough reference checks help employers make the best hiring decisions by assessing a candidate’s ability for a role and ensuring they’ll be able to make positive contributions to your company. However, spending time refining your approach to reference checks can improve hiring outcomes and allow for better-quality additions to your team. Here are three effective strategies to improve how you conduct candidate reference checks:

Gain insights during candidate interviews.

The interview presents a prime opportunity to include the candidate in the reference check process. You can leverage interviews by asking candidates about how their former employers would describe them, or even be more direct by asking, “If I called your manager and asked about your strengths and weaknesses, what do you think they’d tell me?” If a candidate isn’t very forthcoming about answering these types of questions, this may indicate a greater need to check with references about certain factors. The way in which a candidate approaches conversations about their references can speak volumes about their character and track record in the workforce.

Gather specific feedback from references.

When speaking with references, it’s important to ask for specific feedback pertaining to the candidate’s skills, abilities, and personality. Positioning questions that extract as much information as possible is key. For example, if a reference states the candidate was a “hard worker,” be sure to ask them to elaborate on this. As a follow-up to the reference’s response, you might ask, “In what ways did the candidate go above and beyond? Did they make any unique contributions to your workplace? Were they willing to learn and take on new responsibilities?” Probing references with these questions will allow you to get a broader, more accurate picture of the candidate’s past performance and capabilities.

Prioritize your candidate requirements.

While there may be numerous qualities that you’d like candidates to possess, it’s important to prioritize the most important qualifications you’re looking for in talent. For example, you may be focused on culture fit, advanced credentials, or industry-specific skills. Once you define your candidate priorities, you can formulate questions for references that are aimed at acquiring the most relevant and useful information. This can prove to be very beneficial, especially when assessing candidates with similar resumes and backgrounds.

With these strategies, you’ll significantly enhance your hiring process and select candidates who align most with your organization.

Need help finding great talent? Turn to the recruiters at HH Staffing and let us source the best talent on the market for your company!

Until Next Time,

Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant

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Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experience creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.