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Background and Reference Checks: Why They Matter

May 25, 2016, by Tam Campbell Trant | Recruitment

As part of the recruitment process, companies will often request a background and reference check.  Not only are they important, they are an essential component to decisions regarding any potential new hire.

A background check includes confirmation of a candidate’s identify, verification of education and employment history, and a criminal check.  Companies may also request a credit history review when it is relevant to the position being sought.   Many companies today are also reviewing social media information as part of their background check due diligence (stay tuned for a separate blog on this topic). It is reported that 90% of companies conduct a background check before making a hiring decision.

A reference check involves contacting both personal and professional references to obtain insight into a candidate’s duties and responsibilities, their strengths and weaknesses and their previous on-the-job performance.  By contacting those who worked closely with the candidate, a reference check can give insight as to whether the candidate will be a good fit for the position.  A survey conducted by Office Team revealed that 21% of applicants are removed from the candidate pool following their reference check.

Both the background check and the reference check paint a more complete picture of a candidate.  They serve to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant in terms of their experience, education and qualifications. 

A candidate might seem perfect based on their resume and onsite interview. However, it is wise to conduct both the background and reference checks to ensure all the information provided is indeed accurate.   According to Hire Performance, pre-employment screening increases the overall quality of applicants, reduces the costs associated with hiring mistakes, and can ultimately avoid the risk of future litigation. 

Taking the extra time to conduct the background and reference checks during the recruitment process will uncover any discrepancies - before an offer is made.  And will ultimately reduce the headache associated with an uninformed decision, a subsequent termination, and having to start the recruitment process all over again.

Other Articles of Interest

How to Avoid Recruiting Mistakes

Top 5 Reasons Why Companies Make Hiring Mistakes

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