Recruitment Toolbox

reference checks are compulsory - it is your responsibility as the head of department and recruiter, to thoroughly conduct sufficient reference checks

Why do reference checks?

  1. You, as the recruiter and head of department, are responsible for making the best staffing decision. Reference checks are compulsory for you to conduct.

  2. Leopards don't change their spots. People who have a pattern of messing up will most likely do it again.

  3. We want to make sure we are employing an A-Grade candidate. No MAYBIES.

  4. To check for accuracy in details provided such as competency, dates of employment, job titles. Inconsistencies raise a big red flag.

  5. To check for culture fit, personality, character


  1. Be ruthless and uncompromising with reference checks

  2. Start with RED FLAG references

  3. DO NOT skip references - phone the most recent 2 - 3 employers

  4. DO NOT reference with current employer unless candidate agrees in writing

  5. DIG - if the information is sketchy, use social media, company landlines / HR to find the right person your candidate reported to.

  6. Reference the referee. Check out the person on linked in to ensure they are in fact employed as the candidate is putting forward. Not always possible, but don't take information at face value.


  1. References are not listed consecutively (references are left out)

  2. The person who was the candidate's direct manager , is not listed. Instead a colleague or HR Manager or a manager from another department is listed

  3. Reference details not available because the company closed down or referee passed away

  4. Big gaps between employment dates

  5. References not listed at all

What to check for

  1. Is the candidate truthful on their CV?

  2. Did the candidate leave on good terms?

  3. Did the candidate do a good job and were they competent in what they were employed for?

  4. Did the candidate get along with others in the workplace

  5. Are there any unmentioned issues / points that should be considered? (You will get a "feel" for things left unsaid)