What’s Included in a Reference Check? (And How To Streamline the Process)

Reference checking is an objective evaluation of an applicant’s past job performance based on information collected from key individuals (e.g., supervisors, peers, subordinates) who have known and worked with the applicant.

A job offer should never be made without first checking the references of the finalist, as this is an essential step in the hiring process. Making better hiring decisions will be facilitated by reference checks, which provide you with a general understanding of the candidate’s performance in previous positions. Past behavior is the best indicator of future performance. Finally, by ensuring better job matches, reference checks can help protect the sizeable investment a hiring department makes in any new hire.

Whether the chosen candidate is an external applicant or an internal university employee, references must be checked for every recruitment effort at the University of Florida. Given that one-third of all resumes and applications contain material lies, reference checking is particularly crucial and essential to confirm that the information provided is accurate.

Reference Checking Explained

What is included in reference checking?

What you look for in a reference check depends on your business, policies, and the information you need to decide whether to hire someone. You might look into the following things when checking references for a candidate:

What is a reference check?

As part of the hiring process, hiring managers, recruiters, and human resources agents check references to see if job candidates are a good fit for their roles and organizations. Reference checks ensure that the information provided by the job candidate is accurate by verifying key employment details like job titles, places of employment, skills, qualifications, and education.

How to make the reference checking process easier

Use the following advice to make reference checking simpler for both you and the job applicant:

1. Disclose your reference practices

Make sure your candidates are aware of your reference-checking procedures so they can be ready. It’s crucial to let candidates know you’ll check references because unpleasant surprises can make them less likely to trust your business and you as the hiring manager or human resources specialist. It will also help to ensure that the applicant is truthful throughout the application process if you let them know to anticipate a reference check and, ideally, when.

2. Make a list of questions to ask

If you have a list of questions you can ask or modify for each reference, you’ll be better prepared to talk about a candidate’s qualifications. The questions you ask may change depending on the role you’re hiring for and what your candidate said during the interview. Use this list of sample questions to get started:

3. Perform the reference checks yourself

It’s crucial that you, as the hiring manager, check references on your own rather than having a coworker or representative from human resources do it. Knowing the requirements for the position and the qualities you seek in a new hire will help you ask candidates the right questions and learn more about them.

4. Look out for red flags

During the reference check process, as the hiring manager, you might spot some warning signs. While some of these may turn out to be unimportant, it’s still important to be aware of them so you can talk to the candidate about any worries you may have. Here are some common red flags:


What happens in a reference check?

Tips for Easier Reference Checks
  • Follow instructions. …
  • Line up references before beginning the interview process. …
  • Ask before listing someone as a reference. …
  • Choose references who have recently worked with you and a positive opinion of your work.
  • Give your reference the information they need.

What is the purpose of reference checks?

Top 10 Reference Check Software
  • Xref.
  • SkillSurvey Reference.
  • Harver.
  • Hireology.
  • Crosschq.
  • VidCruiter.
  • Zinc.
  • Searchlight.ai.

Does reference checking mean you got the job?

In order to verify prior employment and learn more about the applicant’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and character, reference checks typically entail contacting applicants’ former employers, supervisors, coworkers, and educators.

How do companies verify references?

When conducting a reference check, a hiring manager, employer, or recruiter gets in touch with a job candidate’s previous employer to learn more about the candidate’s performance and skills. A reference check is conducted to make sure the applicant meets the requirements for the position the employer is trying to fill.

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