The hiring process for many small businesses is a daunting task. Most lack a HR department or person to manage the process. Instead, the business typically relies more on what I call “gut instinct” than a well-designed process or procedure. This means that many of the basic steps necessary to making a good hiring decision are not considered or taken. The result is an employee turnover rate that is way too high and that impairs and perhaps imperils the success of the business.
A well-designed hiring process that is properly managed is a key element in developing a highly productive work force. Each step in the process is an opportunity to make the hiring decision the correct one for both the employee and employer. It is the first key step in assembling and developing the right team for the business.
One opportunity that is often overlooked or neglected in the hiring process is reference checking. Too often companies feel that checking references is laborious and fraught with potential legal issues to make it worthwhile. It is for these very reasons that developing and following a good reference checking process can pay dividends for those that use it.
The reality is that good business practice dictates that we check references on any 3rd party we hire to serve the business. Why then would a business not do the same when hiring a new employee?
To take full advantage of the opportunity afforded by checking references, the business needs to develop a process including a checklist and a set of questions that former employers are willing to answer. The person preforming the reference check should be given some training on what to look for when asking for a reference as well as how to ask the necessary questions. These steps should be fully documented so that the responsible person, who may only perform this function occasionally, can brush up on the process each time they perform it.
The opportunity to check an applicant’s work history by reference checking should not be overlooked. As you walk through the hiring process, a good reference check should confirm the applicant’s work history and their ability to perform the job you are hiring for. The more accurate information you as an employer have on an applicant the higher the chances you have in making the right hire.
If you have questions about the hiring process or specifically how to develop a solid reference checking process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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