5 Tips for Quick and Accurate Reference Checks

You've found the perfect IT pro for your team. She's got great technical experience and soft skills, and virtually sailed through the interview process. You're ready to make an offer, and in this market you want to make it quick. There's just one last step: the reference check.

It can be a time-consuming process, but there are some ways you can get the feedback you need, pronto! Robert Half Technology's senior executive director, John Reed, has some reference check advice, including:

  1. Ask for more than three contacts. If you have only three people's names on the reference list, you have to hope you'll speak to everyone quickly. But who knows when they'll call you back? Ask the potential hire for five or six names -- if someone doesn't respond promptly, move onto the next name.
  2. Know what you're going to ask. You'll get the best information about the candidate if you go into these conversations with an organized list of questions tailored to the position. Ask the same questions of each person you talk to so you can compare answers.
  3. Find out what the reference's relationship is to the candidate. Make sure the person is qualified to serve as a reference and not the candidate's best friend. If you find that you're speaking to a low-value reference, you can quickly move on to others on the list.
  4. Avoid open-ended questions. Instead of asking subjective questions like, "What are her strengths," which the reference may not know how to answer, ask questions that are more straightforward like, "Does she work better alone or in a group?"
  5. Gauge their enthusiasum. Ask whether the person would hire the candidate again, and why the candidate left her job. The answers (or non-answers) to these questions should give you a sense of how the reference really feels about the potential new hire.

Check out the full article on quick reference checks. Good luck hiring!