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What’s there to know about checking references? A lot more than you might think. Here are six things you may not have known about this very common — and very crucial — practice:

1. Reference Checks and Background Checks Are Not the Same Thing

Do you do both? If so, make sure you’re getting useful insight from each and not just duplicating your work. For example, if you use reference checks to verify employment history, then you’re not learning anything new. You could have gotten that information from the background check.

Why do a background check?

To comply with the law (when required)
– To verify employment history
– To check criminal records

Why do a reference check?

– To confirm job titles and dates of employment
– To learn about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
– To better understand the candidate’s previous job duties and experiences

Background checks are fairly standard, but the effectiveness of a reference check will depend on your process. If you’re not able to differentiate your reference checks in a meaningful way, then it’s probably time to rethink your approach.

2. More Than Half of All Resumes and Job Applications Contain Untruths*

Can you tell fact from fiction? Probably not, but former coworkers and managers have firsthand knowledge of what a candidate is like to work with, what they’ve achieved, and what they’re capable of.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 senior managers, more than one in five candidates are removed from consideration after their references are checked. Thanks to insight from candidates’ professional contacts, many employers are spared the expense of a bad hire.

Read Greg Moran’s full article on Recruiter.com.

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