Employee Reference Checks

Step four: employment reference checks. The purpose of the employment reference check is to validate your candidates’ qualifications and work experience. 


Conducting an Employment Reference Check – Let’s look at the policy. References provide valuable information about the candidate’s qualifications and work experience. References should be checked in every search. Normally, references are checked near the completion of the search process when the list of final candidates has been narrowed to a small number. All reference checks should be conducted using the following guidelines. Treat all candidates fairly and consistently. Ask only for information that is relevant to the candidate’s skills and qualifications for this position. Disregard information about which the provider does not have first-hand knowledge, or which is unrelated to the individual’s skills or performance. Exercise caution in evaluating or weighing comments which are not for attribution, or stated as “off the record”. Finally, protect the confidentiality of the process and the privacy of the applicant wherever possible by sharing only the information needed to secure the reference. Treat names of other individuals in the search, salaries, and personal information as confidential. Go on to read about securing references for candidates including written letters of reference, followed by external candidates, internal candidates, and finally record-keeping.


Let’s review. The person completing the reference checks must retain a record of the reference process. The file should include names and titles of those who provided the references, and a list of the questions and the information provided. The search file should be retained for three years. Let’s take a look at the following documents to ensure you’re gathering the information and recording the information appropriately. 


Authorization for Release of Employment Information – At the end of your first interview, have your candidate fill out this authorization for each professional reference you can contact. They’ll need one form per reference. Follow the instructions on the resource attached. 


Request for Release of Employment Information – Use this form in the event the former employer requires a faxed reference check form. Please read all the instructions prior to sending. 


Reference Check Form – In the event you are able to reach the reference via telephone, stick to the questions on this form and record answers. Keep all of the reference check files and forms on record for a minimum of three years. 


This concludes the reference check process. Now, after weighing the past information versus what you saw in the interview, you’ll have an idea of who to invite back for a second interview.