Are You Using Reference Checks to Hire the Best People for Your Business?

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

I am amazed at the number of people who think that reference checks are a waste of time. Done right, they are the single greatest source of information about the person you are thinking about hiring. Who better to tell you about the candidate, then people who have actually worked with him/her.

You should do at least four references: two with their former managers and two with colleagues. If the person you are hiring is going to be a manager, then also conduct reference checks with at least two prior direct reports.

Be sure to ask reference check questions that will help you determine if the candidate not only has the skills and experience for the position, but if he/she will be a strong fit with your company’s culture and values. Questions to ask include:

  • In what context did you work with this person?
  • What were the person’s biggest strengths?
  • Questions related to specific job requirements. For example:
    • Tell me about the candidate’s ability to meet deadlines.
    • Tell me about their ability to use Word.
    • Tell me about their customer service skills.
    • Tell me about their management style.
  • How would you rate the person’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10 and why?
  • What were the person’s biggest areas for improvement back then?
  • Would you want to work with him/her again?

Some of the above reference questions are taken from the “Topgrading Interview Guide” in “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. I highly recommend this book. it will help you hire A+ employees.

Remember, your business is whom you hire! So take the time to conduct thorough reference checks. It will save you time, money, and stress!

Want to learn more about reference checks? Email us  or give us a call at 571-587-5615. We work with our clients every day to ensure they are hiring the best candidates for the job.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To learn more, please visit the PeopleTactics website.

Are You Sure You Know Who You Are Hiring?

By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

You spent about 45 minutes interviewing the job candidate, loved him/her and are ready to make an employment offer – right? I hope your answer was a resounding NO!! One interview is never enough to make a decision on whether to hire someone or not. Every employee you hire has the potential to make or break your company. No other business decision is more important to the success of your company than whom you hire!

Therefore, a thorough candidate assessment process is a must. Set-up a multiple hurdle approach in which candidates must “pass” each step to proceed to the next step. A sample approach is:

  1. Review resume to ensure candidate meets job-posting qualifications.
  2. Conduct a phone screen to qualify candidate for the position.
  3. Hiring Manager conducts a face-to-face with candidate and candidate completes the application.
  4. Candidate has a second face-to-face interview or lunch meeting with hiring manager and another employee and/or colleague.

Note: Candidates tend to let their guard down in more informal situations such as a lunch, so this gives you additional insight into their ability to do the job effectively.

  1. Conduct thorough reference checks (you could also move this step up to before the second interview).
  2. Conduct background checks (e.g., criminal, education, driving record) if applicable.

Note: Background checks often need to be completed once a conditional employment offer is made to the candidate.

Take your time with the candidate assessment process – effective hiring will not only help your company thrive, but it will prevent you from having to spend your time, money and energy on addressing employee issues.

Want to learn more about assessing potential candidates? Email us  or give us a call at 571-587-5615. We work with our clients every day to ensure they are hiring the best candidates for the job.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To learn more, please visit the PeopleTactics website.