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It is essential to check references on all candidates who are serious contenders for a position. The best predictor of future success is past performance. Check a minimum of three supervisory references for each candidate, including current supervisor.
Make reference calls as early as possible, without jeopardizing the candidate's current employment.
- Request the candidate provide you a list of at least three professional references. (At minimum, one reference should be a former/current supervisor.)
- Schedule a mutually convenient time for the phone call.
- Prepare specific questions. Use the Telephone Reference Check as a guideline.
- Clarify the reference's working relationship with the candidate and his/her role in the organization.
- Look for a balanced assessment (positives and negatives) of the candidate.
- Listen carefully. Sometimes you can obtain certain information without asking.
- Take notes.