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Reference & Background Checks…What you Need to Know

I participated in a webinar hosted by an international HR company in July. The reference checking section is partially summarized here and is for the reader’s general information only.

Reference and Background Checks

Employers are finding out that it costs them thousands of dollars when they make a wrong hire, so they are conducting thorough background and reference checks more often these days. Candidates, on the other hand, must be aware that these checks are going to be done, and must give their permission. They should also be advised that they’ll be dismissed if it is found out that they have given false information.

Reference Checks are conducted to confirm what’s outlined in one’s resume and what was discussed during the interview, but also for verification of dates, positions, titles, and responsibilities.

Background Checks are performed to validate education and other credentials; the number of years studied and professional certification obtained.

Criminal Record Checks are done to determine if one has any prior convictions.

Credit Checks HR professionals advise that credit checks should be obtained but only if it’s a bona fide part of the job.

Media Checks are becoming very common and it’s customary for some employers to ‘google’ someone to find out if there’s any mention of the person on the Internet or in the newspapers.

Reference Letters Employers prefer to contact references directly rather than accept reference letters. If they do accept letters, they also follow up with telephone calls. This is to make sure that the person does exist, and that the candidate did not make an agreement with a friend, relative or other person to “put in a good word” on their behalf. Employers are also aware that some candidates engage the services of reference checking agencies to find out what their named references will say about them.

So, be on your guard…let the buyer beware!