Every firm conducts their hiring process in a different manner. Some agencies use a very simple template when checking references, while others use a complicated one. There may not be a "one size fits all" solution to this problem. There are quite a few factors to consider when preparing a reference checking template. Some online companies, like RecruitCheck, specialize in checking references for good reason.
So Much Work, So Little Time
These days, thousands of candidates submit resumes for most open positions. It may be wise to weed out the undesirable applicants using a simple reference checking template. A firm can always conduct a more detailed reference check on outstanding candidates in the future; therefore, there is little point in wasting effort on 50 or 100 different applications. Keep things simple to start with.
Start With Basic Questions
It is great to get feedback from real people who have worked with job candidates. There are some very basic questions that the reference checker can begin with, such as the following:
What was the candidate's job responsibilities?
What strengths and weaknesses did the candidate have?
How did the candidate perform in relation to his or her peers?
How would you rate the quality of the candidate's performance?
These questions should suffice to get an idea about which resumes ought to be thrown out. There is no reason to complicate things further on the first round. A previous employer will give negative feedback when they feel it necessary, and there is no reason to force the issue.
A good reference checker should do their best to avoid questions that force negative answers from a reference. Questions such as, "What did the candidate do poorly?" force a reference to provide negative feedback. It is wise to keep all of your questions open-ended on any reference checking template.
Call Back With a More Rigorous Set of Questions
Candidates may gloss over unsavoury parts of their past, and that is precisely why the first round of reference checking should involve simple questions. For the second round, the reference checking template becomes more detailed. This is where the real interviews must take place, and the questions must be rigorous enough to discern between which of 10, 20, or 30 different candidates are truly outstanding enough to hire. The following are some examples of more complex questions:
How quickly does the candidate learn new tasks?
What level of supervision does the candidate require?
How are the candidates written and speaking skills?
Why did the candidate leave your firm?
How would you rate the candidate on dependability, trustworthiness, and initiative?
Make a Basic Reference Checking Template and a Complex One
Going about your reference checking with a basic and complex template will save time and money for any firm. Do not waste time compiling pages of information on candidates that you will soon dismiss. Preliminary checking and reference checking done in stages will save you time and money.