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Are Reference Checks Important for Employers?

There have been many recent, controversial discussions surrounding references on CVs. A reference check is when an employer contacts a job applicant’s previous employers, colleges and other sources to learn more about his or her employment history, educational background and qualifications for a job.

As an employer, a fundamental question to ask is “Is it a waste of time getting in contact with these references?”

Hassanah Rudd, talent acquisition manager at NBN Co, believes that reference checks are useful in many ways. They help to uncover how a candidate performs in the workplace as well as the management style that can be used with the employee to achieve the best results.

“At the end of the day, references are invaluable. You absolutely should do them. You should include them as part of the process, and it should round out the experience you’ve had with the candidate to that point,” Rudd says.

It appears as if the consensus amongst career experts is that checking references is an essential multi-purpose activity with numerous benefits. Having an effective process for checking references may accomplish one of two things:

  • It may reassure the hiring manager of the positive things that he or she already knows about the applicant; or
  • It may uncover things about a potential applicant that the hiring manager did not know and that may prove to be unfavourable.

It is surprising when employers do not check references at all since there is so much to gain from it. From one call, you might generate a new client, a new candidate, a new job listing, a lead or market intel.

It would provide further insightful information on the new employer or confirm statements included in their CV.

Over the years, some people have grown to believe that reference checks are a waste of time. After all, why would a candidate give a referee who will say something bad about them? Naturally, you would not expect to call a referee and gain bad feedback. However, this does happen, and surprisingly often.

Employers need to ensure that the person they are contacting can offer valuable information about the candidate. It should be confirmed that the candidate reported to the person giving the reference.

In summary, reference checks are a great tool for any organisation to ensure that the applicants considered for hire are of the highest quality and will be able to accomplish the essential duties and responsibilities that their job demands.

While checking references may be thought of as a cumbersome and pointless activity, it may very well turn out to be the best decision hiring managers make in the hiring process.

Professional Sourcing offers the service of verification checks. We conduct references and various verification checks (employer, criminal, credit) before the interviewing process.

Professional Sourcing has a strong reputation for highly developed recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. We develop strong long-term relationships with our loyal clients and bluechip employers. Allow us to help you deal with your frustrations of a lengthy hiring process.

Professional Sourcing is a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

Our agency specialises in professional placements (senior and specialist talent) and exclusive skills recruitment to a wide range of industries, including JSE’s top 100 companies, SMEs and the Public Sector. -- Patricia Koekemoer

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