When Should I Check References?

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Mar 25, 2015

Dear Barb:

When do you think references should be checked? I don’t see the need to do them until I have a pending offer, but my manager is pressing us to conduct them much sooner. I would be interested in your take on this topic and plan to share your advice with my manager.

Howard S., Grand Rapids, MI

Dear Howard:

I think it’s wise to check references, the minute you know this is a candidate you can place. At the latest, begin checking references the minute you present an opportunity to one of your candidates.

Let me explain why:

  1. References will help you sell your candidate to your clients, especially if they are initially being screened out.
  2. You confirm the information you believe to be true.
  3. It’s better to be proactive than to have an offer pending on references not completed.

Rookies should check references on their best candidates to help sell them to their fellow recruiters.

Checking references is the best passive way to make marketing presentations. You are usually speaking with a decision-maker, and after checking a reference it is very easy to ask how they attract top talent.

One last tip, you should stay in touch with every person who provides you with a reference check. They could be a future candidate, client or referral source.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

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