Can I get a reference? (Guest commentary)

Check background, but use additional selection tools
By Lynne Van Buskirk
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/07/2009

You’ve followed the pre-defined recruitment process for your organization — job analysis, job posting, interviewing and testing — and now you’re ready for the gold-medal round, also known as the telephone reference check.

This lengthy and detailed step will, you hope, confirm all the information you have gleaned thus far about your short-listed applicant is correct. Or perhaps it will clearly illustrate why he should not be hired.

You contact the applicant’s current or former supervisor and find she will not speak to you about the employee, instead shooing you over to HR for what turns out to be a perfunctory conversation. HR confirms the employee has worked there for a specific period of time, his job title and duties and not much more. Suddenly the centrepiece of the selection process is derailed and you are left wondering what your next steps will be.