Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How and Why You Need to Check Professional References

How and Why You Need to Check Professional ReferencesIn order to keep turnover rates low and ensure that each hiring decision you make is a wise one, it’s necessary to check professional references. Doing so helps you to get a more three-dimensional look at this potential employee. You’ll have a better understanding about what they could bring to your office, and may also become aware of any challenges that you may face should you choose to make them an offer. Here are a few strategies to use as you check professional references:

Skip over personal references entirely

It should be a requirement that all references come from someone who has employed this individual in the past. If this person is new to the workforce and hasn’t had direct experience yet, talk to someone who worked with them in a volunteer setting or during an internship. It’s almost impossible to get valuable and objective feedback from a person’s family, friends, and even acquaintances, so skip these references.

Talk to someone who has worked with the individual on a day-to-day basis

When you’re calling for references, you want to talk with someone who has worked closely with this person on a day-to-day basis. This will give you a more accurate picture about how your potential hire solves problems, interacts with others, and stays focused throughout the week. Don’t be afraid to ask exactly how closely this person interacted with your potential employee either. All of this information can help to shape your perspective.

Listen for non-verbal cues

Sometimes it’s what the person on the other end of the line doesn’t say that tells you everything you need to know. As you’re discussing the candidate you have in mind, listen for any strange pauses, shifts in tone of voice, or other non-verbal cues. These subtle signs may indicate dissatisfaction with the former employee’s performance or other issues, even if the person doesn’t come right out and express these sentiments.

A discussion with someone who has seen a potential employee at work can help shed some light on whether this individual would truly be a good fit for your office. Even if you’re trying to move the hiring process along, it’s important to take time to call professional references before making a decision.

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Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.