What’s an Employment Reference Check and Why it Matters

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Reference checks can be used for various reasons such as checking employment references, verifying academic history, or getting feedback on work performance. These checks are one of the most important steps in the hiring process. They allow employers to verify the credentials of applicants and find out if they have a history of bad behavior. This helps them make better decisions about who to hire and discover other potential candidate issues that might affect their business.

Reference checks can be conducted on the applicant’s social media profiles, in-person interviews, or even by calling previous employers.

employee reference checks
Employee reference checks

However, with the growing use of social media and online applications, employers need to have an effective and efficient approach on how they conduct reference checks. It can be difficult for employers to know where to start in conducting checks so we are providing some tips on how to conduct the reference check and what questions you should ask.

How Does an Employment Reference Check Work?

The process starts by asking the candidate if they have any questions about the position and if they can provide a list of references. The employer will then ask for a copy of their cv and cover letter. After that, the employer will send an employment reference request form back to them with instructions on what information should be included in their reference form.

pre employment reference check
Pre employment reference check

Employers often specify what information should be included in their references, such as name, address, phone number, and email address. They may also ask for specific information such as dates of employment or salary history. In addition to this, employers often require a background check before allowing you to work at their company.

What are the questions to ask when checking an applicant's employment references?

The questions to ask when checking an applicant's employment references are:

  1. What type of work did the applicant do?
  2. Did the applicant do any writing-related work?
  3. What was the name of the company, and what was its industry?
  4. When did they leave that company, and why were they let go?
  5. How long were they there for?
  6. What is their level of education, and what is their professional experience in general?

When is the Best Time to Check an Employee's References?

When checking an employee's references, it is important to do it before making a final decision. Doing this will allow you to make informed decisions that are based on facts rather than assumptions.

reference checks before hiring
Reference checks before hiring

The best time to check an employee's references is when you are screening them, either before or after their first job interview. This will allow you to see if there are any red flags or warning signs that would indicate that you should not hire the person.

There are also some companies who don't want to wait for the employee to provide their references. Instead, they would like to check the references before hiring them.

Can employers check employment references without consent?

Employers are able to check employment references without consent, but there are a few exceptions. Employers cannot ask for information that is protected by the law or that would violate an individual's privacy.

Employer's can also check work references without consent if the employer has a good faith belief that the individual might be an employee of a competitor and it is necessary to protect the employer's business interests.

There are certain limits on how employers can use this information. They cannot use it for discriminatory purposes or to discriminate against someone in hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation decisions.

What are the Types of Reference Checks?

Reference checks are divided into two types: pre-employment and post-employment. Pre-employment reference checks are done before an employee starts working for a company and post-employment reference checks are done after an employee has already started working for a company.

They can be done through different methods such as phone, email, social media and a face-to-face meeting. The type of platform used depends on the type of reference check being conducted and the extent to which it is required.

Why should you Consider Hiring a Background Check Company to do the Reference Checks for you?

Background checks can be a time-consuming process and can lead to many hours of work. To make sure that you are efficient in conducting your checks, you can consider hiring a background check company to do the reference checks for you.

employee reference checking company
Employee reference checking company

It is important to find a reliable background check company who has experience in this field and has a good track record. You should also ask them about their pricing structure so that you know what they will charge for your project.

reference checking company
Reference checking company

Background check companies can help you find out what kind of references they will need to talk with before they do any further research on the candidate. They are also able to provide information about their candidates’ educational history, criminal history, and more.

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What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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State of Hiring and Background Checks Discrepancies

Veremark’s 2022 Annual Report is based on the background check data collected from over 100,000 checks from companies and professionals across 6 countries and 5 key industries last year.

This report focuses on the state of hiring and background check discrepancies and is an essential guide to all recruiters and HR professionals conducting hires, background checks and onboarding in 2022.

In this report, we discuss:  

  • What areas and factors can Background Checks discover?  
  • Where did the findings come from by country and sector?
  • Discrepancies by top 5 sectors
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    • HR, Staffing and Recruiting      
    • Technology and Software      
    • Professional Services      
    • Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
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    • Singapore      
    • United Kingdom      
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    • Philippines
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