Managing Your Business Like A Professional

Red Flags To Look For When Reference Checking

by Sherri Robinson

Reference checking is an important part of the hiring process, but knowing what to look for can be difficult. When you hire someone, you want to make sure that they're the right fit for the job and that they will be an excellent addition to your team.

Here are two things to watch out for when reference checking to help you make the best hiring decision.

Lack of Enthusiasm

If the reference sounds hesitant or unenthusiastic about the candidate, that could be a sign that the candidate is not a good fit for the job. You want to hear that the candidate is a hard worker and that they're good at what they do. If the reference sounds like they don't want to be there, or if they're not enthusiastic about the candidate, it's probably best to move on to someone else.

Other times, they might offer vague answers to your questions or try to deflect some obvious questions. For example, you might ask a reference how the candidate handled a difficult situation, and the reference might say something like, "I don't really remember," or "I'm not sure."

That could be a sign that the reference is trying to avoid saying something negative about the candidate. If the reference is vague or evasive, you could ask follow-up questions to better understand why the reference feels this way.

Maybe there's a valid reason why the reference is not too stoked about the candidate but doesn't want to badmouth them. Credibility is important, so you'll want to ensure that the reference is truthful and not just saying what they think you want to hear.

The Candidate Doesn't Seem to Hold Down a Job for Long

If a candidate has had a lot of jobs in a short period, that could be a red flag. This is especially true if every reference you check in with cannot give a good reason for why the candidate left each position. In fact, it might show that the candidate is not good at holding down a job.

It's not necessarily a bad thing if someone has had a lot of jobs, but you want to make sure that there's a good reason for it. Maybe the candidate is a military spouse who has to move around a lot, or maybe they're looking for a specific type of job and haven't been able to find it.

There are plenty of reasons why someone might have had a lot of jobs, but you'll want to make sure that the candidate is being honest about their reasons for leaving each position. If the candidate is constantly quitting or getting fired, that's probably not someone you want to hire.

So, make use of a reliable reference checking platform to verify a candidate's employment history and get insights from their references. Ask about each job on the resume and try to get a sense of why the candidate left each one.