Ask Barb: Conducting Reference Checks

Article main image
Aug 8, 2012

Dear Barb:

It is getting more difficult than ever to conduct reference checks. Do you think we should outsource checking references to a third party provider? Should we just discontinue offering reference checking as a service we provide? I’d also like to know when you conduct reference checks and who conducts them.

Irene V., Evansville, IN

Dear Irene:

I would not recommend that you outsource reference checking unless it is a requirement you receive from specific clients. My reasons are as follows:

  1. Converting reference checks into marketing presentations is one of the most effective ways to develop new clients.
  2. The information you receive from reference checks can be used when you are selling your candidates to your clients.
  3. The individuals who you contact can become future clients, candidates, or part of your professional network.
  4. When rookies check a reference prior to presenting their candidates to senior recruiters, the senior recruiter has more information to present to their clients

My Candidate Specialists are the individuals who conduct reference checks. We conduct reference checks when we have determined that this is a candidate we will represent.

One more tip: If a supervisor refuses to provide very limited information, I explain my reputation is at stake and ask if they will just answer one question, “Is this person eligible for rehire?” If they say, “Yes” – you have a positive reference check. If they say, “No” – go back to your candidate and obtain additional references. We also check one personal reference to obtain information not available from any other source.

If you’d like a copy of our personal reference check, please email us at Hope this assists you in making your decision.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!