4 Handy Tips for Vetting Personal Recommendations

Vetting references is an essential part of the hiring process, according to business experts. It will give you a more complete picture of who this person is and how they might perform within your team. But, what is the best way to vet those references?

Tips for Vetting the References

Here are four tips that will help you get the best information from the references:

  • Get and vet the references before scheduling an interview. After you narrow down your resume pile to a few good candidates, request their personal references. The job candidates should not have any problems providing these promptly. After you contact a candidate’s references, you will know whether you want to take the next step and set up an interview.
  • Look for references from professional sources, instead of personal ones. The exception is if you are hiring someone who is brand new to the work force. Professional references are preferred because they come from former bosses, co-workers, or subordinates. These individuals will give you a good picture of the job candidate’s professionalism.
  • Use telephone contact instead of written. You can have a standard set of questions to ask each reference. With telephone contact, you can ask follow-up or clarification questions. If you requested a written reference, you are going to get a canned response.
  • Ask the right questions. You need to get information on this person’s work habits. Some questions to consider: What is his or her strongest quality? What is the weakest? How were her communication skills? How did he respond to criticism? Does she work well with others? Does she work better alone? Did you feel like you could depend on him? Would you rehire her? What else can you tell me? 

There is one thing to be aware of when vetting references. Many companies have gotten in trouble in recent years for giving former employees less than favorable reviews. So, in some cases, you may find a reference at a former employer is less than forthcoming with information. If you have this happen, ask the same questions as you would other references. Listen for what they are not saying as much as they are saying.

Taking the time to vet references will help you sort out good potential job candidates from the less than stellar ones. It is time well spent.

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