3 Common Mistakes Made When Checking References

November 23rd, 2015

With everything involved in the hiring process, sometimes checking a candidate’s references gets the short shrift. This isn’t good for your company, because when a decision comes down to two quality candidates with similar skill sets and medical industry experience, reference checking plays a large role in making the correct final choice. When performing reference checks, it is important to follow a thorough, mistake free process.

Let’s look more closely at some reference checking mistakes your HR team needs to avoid to make the best possible hiring decision.

Considering References who never worked with the Candidate

It is vital to only consider references who directly worked with a candidate. This is especially important when considering the stressful nature of work within the healthcare industry. A first-person perspective on how the candidate performs when under pressure offers better predictive insight to their on-the-job performance with your organization.

In short, don’t consider references from a candidate’s high school teacher or Boy or Girl Scout troop leader.

Not Reference Checking Every Candidate

Your HR team needs to follow a consistent hiring process. This includes performing thorough reference checks on at least every candidate you bring in for an interview. Skimping on this part of the process might lead to a costly hiring mistake.

Your interviewing team benefits from having any additional information weaned from a reference check when talking with a candidate. If the time doesn’t allow reference checks before an initial interview, definitely perform them before any follow-up interviews take place.

Insufficient Questioning of a Candidate’s References

The members of your HR team doing the reference checks need to channel their “inner Mike Wallace” — the legendary 60 Minutes reporter known for tough questioning. In short, don’t ask leading questions and leverage meaningful follow-up queries to gain additional insight into a candidate’s previous work performance. If your reference checkers are only receiving “yes” or “no” answers, their questions probably aren’t good enough.

Prepare a worksheet for your HR staff that covers these questioning strategies. This helps to ensure consistency between those checking references, and that you have all the information you need to make an enlightened final decision on which candidate is best for your company.

If your organization needs additional input on how to build a winning team in the healthcare industry, talk to the experts at Pinnacle Workforce. As one of the top medical staffing agencies in the country, we offer top notch candidates able to make a difference in your office. Schedule some time with us as soon as possible!

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