I had left the reference checking to the Human Resources Generalist/Assistant. She did the background check but never followed through with any reference checking. I took it for granted that since his background check had come back ‘clean’, all was well. It wasn’t for a few weeks and a few ‘well experienced’ observations later that I learned reference checking had never been completed….at all. With all my years of HR experience (nearly 35, at this point in time), I never thought to ask the HR Assistant/Generalist if she had completed the reference checking until my observations made it clear that there was a ‘minor’ albeit ‘obvious’ disconnect in front of me….
I then took it upon myself to do some reference checking after the fact. Not much, but enough to recognize that I would have recommended the hiring client offer the candidate an HR Manager title and about 15% less annual dollars. The candidate’s experience did/does not warrant a higher title nor the amount of remuneration he was offered. But, I believe the ‘employee’ will eventually grow into the job with proper direction but it taught me a valuable lesson: One has to follow through on all tasks given to subordinates, even if it is to confirm that the task has been completed.
Checking references is one of only a few ways to ensure that a candidate can deliver on their promises, have the experience you require and will be a good cultural fit. If you don’t do this, you may risk making a bad hire which can costs thousands of dollars…following is a guide on the best questions to ask references.