When hiring new staff is a common desire to get it done as quick and easy as possible. However, this often results in errors being made, and causing the process to take longer than it would if you slowed down to ensure everything was correct the first time!
We noticed that because of this there's been an unintentional increase of fraudulent references, so we are going to share a few tricks of the trade with you to try making sure you don't get caught out and you can get your new staff working quickly.
When interviewing, you can go down two paths:
You can confirm with the interviewee who is the appropriate person for you to call for a reference.
Don't rely on details written on a CV or application form. Ask specifically who they reported to for each of their previous positions, how long they reported to them and if they are still in that position.
If you will be using an application form, remember to get the candidates' permission before contacting their past employers. The applicant should sign for their permission in a form, with a statement like:
“I give my permission for Company XYZ Ltd to contact all the above companies and individuals for the purpose of confirming employment dates and/or providing a reference”.
Alternatively you could ask for all the relevant information about previous employers appearing on the application form or CV. You could ask the candidate about their past jobs, what they did, how they enjoyed it and if they had any problems or issues whilst they were there. You should be trying to dig up information that you can ask further questions about, during the interview and the follow-up reference check.
Once you have gone through the employment history, it will be the ideal time to produce a “permission to contact all references form” and ask them to sign it. You'd be surprised how many times applicants suddenly want to change their references!
It is now very easy for a candidate to print out a document that looks genuine, so look closely and ask yourself the following questions.
But Don't Call The Referee Yet!
Don't take the information you have been given for granted. Validate everything you can by yourselves!
Remember that anybody can throw together a website easily so ensure you are using the official website. Search Google for the company. Is the website Google provides the same as the one you have been given? Are the address and telephone numbers the same?
When You Call Them:
If you have received a written reference always ring them and confirm verbally that the reference has actually come from them and check with the company that the person who has given the reference is authorised to do so.
Remember not all referees are fair or balanced and some companies print their headed paper as they go, using inkjet printers. You will have to look at the whole picture. Treat anything that is unusual or suspicious and investigate it, but keep an open mind to the possibility that that dodgy-looking website is genuine. Not everyone is a web-design master!