Reference checking is often relegated to Human Resources in organizations. In my mind, that's not who should own reference checking. The manager of the position should check the employment references. He or she has the most to lose if the needed skills and cultural fit don't work out. The manager's "feel" for the viability of the candidate is also key for the person's eventual success as an employee.
Sure, Human Resources can:
- own the reference checking process,
- check references for entry level jobs, and
- check the candidate's list of prepped references.
Before you turn your managers loose on reference checking, however, training in how to check references is required. Since you never get a second chance, particularly with the candidate's former manager, doing it right the first time is paramount. And, this training needs to include how to reach the manager, how to bypass the HR office, if possible, and how to help the reference open up and communicate about the potential employee. Here's a handy reference checking format that you can modify for use in your organization.
More About Reference Checking
- Recruit and Hire the Best Email Class.
- Job Candidate Evaluation Form.
- Background Checks.
- Eight Hiring Mistakes Employers Make: From Application to Interview.