Carry Out a Proper Check of Employee References

By Tayo Leigh

 09 Dec 2015     Comments

References are an integral part of the hiring process and can be a good indicator of how well the candidate will perform.
These days, many companies will only provide information on the dates the candidate worked and perhaps some other details on their absence level. If you can’t get a reference for an employee then there may be cause for concern.
When we carry out references, we tend to just send a letter or email to the contact the employee provides, but we really should be a bit more thorough when it comes to the reference checking process.

These are some ways you can make your reference process a bit stricter and help ensure you get the information you need.

Check the Company Exists

There has been numerous reports of candidates who supply reference details for companies which don’t exist, so this is a definite warning sign that something isn’t quite right. It could be that they have never worked in a similar role or they are unable to obtain a good reference; both of these are equally as damaging as each other. A useful process to get into is to check the reference details on Google, to ensure the company/person actually exists. It is easy enough to set up an email address for a made up business so take steps to ensure you don’t get caught out in this way. This will take up a bit more time but can save you from a lot of hassle and stress in the long run.

Social Media

You can find out a lot about a person through their social media and it is becoming increasingly common for employers to use this to check up on candidates. Of course, you don’t expect people to live like saints but looking at their general language and opinions can be useful for finding out if you are choosing the right person. LinkedIn can also be useful for confirming their past employment and looking at any endorsements they may have.

Be Specific

It is important to be specific with both the candidate and the employer about what you actually need in terms of the reference. For instance, if you are in the care industry, it is unlikely that a personal reference will suffice, so make sure the candidate understands that you need two or three employer references (or whatever is standard in your company.) You should also be clear with the employer too, a standard form can be really helpful for getting the right level of detail you need.


Candidates are usually asked if they give permission for their references to be checked prior to the job offer and if this is part of your process, always make sure you adhere to the candidate’s preference. It may be that they are still in employment and don’t want their employer to know they are looking for another job, so just be careful that you are not going against their wishes.

Search our database today for top talent.


comments powered by Disqus