Managers rule out a third of candidates after reference checks
- Managers in a new Accountemps survey said they remove as much as 34% of candidates from consideration for jobs in their organizations after checking references.
- According to the more than 2,800 senior managers who responded to the survey, the information they want most from references are: a view into applicants' strengths and weaknesses (38%), descriptions of past duties (22%), confirmation of past job titles and dates of employment (19%) and insight into applicants' preferred work culture (12%).
- Accountemps Executive Director Michael Steinitz said that reference checks carry as much weight as any other factor in the hiring process, but candidates treat them as an afterthought.
Steinitz said that candidates who make mistakes in providing references can set back the recruiting process to "square one." But a misstep on the hiring manager's end can set back the process, too. If a recruitment officer fails to check a reference and hires a candidate who isn't ideal for the position, that mistake can cost employers around $15,000, according to research.
Resume embellishment is alive and well, making the need to check references as crucial as ever. In a 2018 survey, nearly half of managers said a lie on a resume is a deal-breaker; reference checks can help uncover those lies early on in the recruiting process. But another survey found nearly half of employers don't bother to check references.
Technology allows employers to automate the reference-checking procedure, although there are pros and cons for doing so. If new technology makes the procedure faster, efficient and more widely used, however, it might make reference-checking worthwhile to avoid hiring the wrong candidates.