Effective Executive Search and Hiring Processes Require Thorough Reference Checks

By November 29, 2012 No Comments

When employers make a bad hire it is typically because they were not as thorough as they could have been in the follow through on a candidate’s history. Where at one time employers could rely far more on their ability to effectively asses candidates based solely on their resumes and interviews in the executive search and hiring processes, times have changed and these two means of determining whether or not a candidate has what it takes to fulfill a role are no longer adequate to the task on their own. With the growth of communications technologies, coupled with the growing desperation to find work that so many have faced coming through the financial crisis, it has become increasingly common practice for job seeking individuals to get help in their searches; help writing their resumes to make them as impressive and effective as possible, and help preparing for interviews, knowing what questions are likely to be asked and how they should be answered.

Just as in the typical interview, for reference checks to be effective the interviewer will need to carefully plan out the questions they intend to ask, as well as a series of follow up questions. One of the key reasons that so many employers neglect this step of the process is that they have come to expect that a candidate would only provide them with contacts who will give them glowing feedback and recommendations, and while this may be the case to an extent, by applying a bit of strategy to the process the interviewer should be able to draw out the information they need. This can be accomplished through a sensibly constructed line of questioning that does not cease at the interviewee’s straightforward answer, but which seeks to delve deeper and deeper with follow up questions designed to draw out any and all flaws that the candidate may have. One of the best rules to keep in mind during the whole of the executive search and hiring process is that the employer should always be looking for reasons NOT to hire a candidate rather than looking for reasons to hire them.

To take these process just a step further and to be as completely thorough as possible, the interview should also ask the reference for the contact information of any other individuals with whom the candidate may have worked closely in the past, digging up other individuals to interview who may be more forthcoming. Given the current state of things most companies cannot afford the costly drain to their resources associated with making a bad hire, and if they are to avoid these unnecessary losses they will first need to learn just how important it is to go that extra mile and put in the effort to ensure that no mistakes are made.


Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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