A great-looking candidate walks in carrying a well-written resume and smooth talks his way into the company. Then in just weeks the new hire’s true personality starts to emerge. The employee becomes a nightmare, sabotaging the team and taking production levels down with him.

Unfortunately, for many companies, this scene replays over and over again. What went wrong? There’s a strong chance that the company either did not bother to check references or did not check them well enough before hiring the candidate. It is a much bigger mistake to clean up after hiring somebody that it is to perform thorough reference checks.

You may be wondering if your reference checks are actually doing any good? To answer this question, it’s important to look at some of the common mistakes that are made with pre-employment checks.

#1 – Not conducting consistent background checks on candidates

While most companies have some form of background check or reference checks that they tried to do on all candidates, some candidates will fall to the cracks. This is never a good policy. All candidates should be subjected to the same consistent background and reference checks. Anything else would be considered discriminatory hiring practices.

#2 – Failing to gather enough of the right references

Job seekers are pretty slick nowadays and in some cases they will outright lie on a resume and provide personal friends as career references. Nearly 58 percent of hiring managers have caught lies on a resume, according to a Harris Poll survey from 2014. Ask all candidates to provide complete references of people whom they have worked directly with as part of the application process.

#3 – Making job offers contingent upon reference checks

This is a huge mistake. Even if your company needs someone to start right away take the time to make sure that all reference checks and background screening has returned before starting an employee on the job. It is much harder to terminate or release an employee once they have become employed by your company.

#4 – Asking poor reference check questions

When you are doing reference checks all kinds of questions are you asking? Are you sticking to the basics or are you trying to learn more about the candidate’s character and work history? Be sure you are not asking leading questions and instead focus on job-related questions that are open ended so that you get more complete answers.

#5 – Forgetting to also conduct criminal and drug tests

As part of all candidate screening processes you also want to work with reputable third-party agencies that can conduct full criminal background checks and drug testing. Not doing these types of screenings can put your company and your employees at risk. If you are wondering if your reference checks are worth your time just this focus alone will help you to hire better people.

Remember, a good staffing agency can help dramatically improve your success rates with hiring talent because they can handle all of these aspects for you. Not only is it better for your business, but it is also more efficient and cost-effective to outsource candidate screening and recruitment to a staffing agency.

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