Why Should I Check References? | Importance, Reasons, & More

Why Should I Check References?

checking referencesDo you check references of prospective employees? You should. With up to one-third of all resumes containing a lie, you can bet that a few of your applicants may fabricate references to construct a better work history (on paper, anyways.)

You may not look forward to checking references. After all, it takes time to reach all the references a candidate has listed, which can delay your hiring decision. Employers you have to call may view giving references as an inconvenience or even a risk to them. The whole process may seem unnecessary, especially if you’ve found the perfect candidate. Or, you may be tired and just want to fill the position. Whatever your reasons: Do it anyway.

When you check references, you are protecting your investment in your business and guarding your employees from a potentially bad hire. Here are some good reasons to check references:

1. Verify information. Even if a former employer will only verify the person’s job title and the fact that they did indeed work there for three years, that’s good information to have. You’ve now confirmed the accuracy of the resume (or poked a hole in it.)

2. Paint a more accurate picture of the candidate. The candidate has shown you her best. Now, here’s a unique opportunity to get the rest of the story from the vantage point of others.

3. Make better hiring decisions. The more information you have about a candidate, the better. Because past performance is often a good indicator of future performance, checking references is a critical step in the hiring process.

What is the cost of a bad hire? Much higher than the cost of taking time to ensure the person you’re about to hire is honest, respected, and effective in their field. Think about the potential for lost revenue … time spent managing an ineffective employee … poor employee morale … possible legal issues. Checking those references will give you the valuable information you need to make a good hiring decision.

Coming up: Learn how to conduct a reference check.

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