Reference check is a process by which potential employer communicates with someone who knows the job applicant. It is an important process because it helps the employer; to verify the information that he has received from the applicant, predicts the future performance of the applicant and to uncover the information such as previous criminal records of the applicant (Gatewood and Robert,383).
There is little research that has been done about the reliability and validity of reference checks as a predictor of jobs performance. From the few studies that have been done about the reliability of reference checks data it has shown that reference checks have low reliability, this is mainly because the referees relates to the applicant differently for example supervisors,friends,co workers and they tend to judge him from different perspective (Gatewood and Robert,384). The lack of agreement of the two reference givers also restricts the predictive validity of the reference checks (Caruth and Donald,204).
Michael and Fellice Williams conducted a meta analysis of thirty studies about the validity data between references and work performance and reported a mean weighted correlation of 0.18 and a corrected true correlation of 0.29,from this finding reference checks validity is very low and other predictors such as cognitive test fare better than it in predicting job performance (Gatewood and Robert 384). However reference checks helps employer to uncover the previous conduct of the applicant like fraud.
TIPS FOR REFERENCE CHECKS.
- Conduct the reference check yourself
Unless you have a very trustworthy recruiter it is always advisable to do the reference check personally as it will give you an opportunity to ask the relevant questions and make an informed decision (Peter,45)
- Conduct more than one
The employer should always contact more than one referee so as to get more information about the applicant.
- Consider the relevance of the referee
Many job applicants will not give referees from their current employment and they tend to give referees who are so personal like acquaintances or coworkers therefore the employer should evaluate the relevance of the referees and insist on only relevant ones (Peter, 45).
- Follow up from the interview
Probe on the cases of concern that was identified during the interview; use this as an opportunity to confirm the strength and weaknesses of the applicant
(Peter,46). Also ask for the specific tasks that the applicant has done.
- Seek consent
Always seek consent from the applicant whenever you want to contact a person who has not been named as a referee by the applicant, failure to do so may lead to breach of privacy (Peter, 46).
Gatewood, Robert D . Human Resource Selection. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western, 2008. Print.
Caruth, Donald L . Staffing the Contemporary Organization: A Guide to Planning, Recruiting, and Selecting for Human Resource Professionals. New York: Quorum Books, 1988. Print.
Peter F . The Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.