A good position and a few years of experience may look good on a resume, but is it enough to determine if the applicant will be a good fit for your organization? The answer is NO. You may have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, and this applies to a resume too. The resume for a prospective employee needs to be verified, whatever their designation. This is where a reference check comes into the picture.

Here’s the reference check you can conduct beyond the title and dates to get to know your prospective employee.

Make Your Job Easier
Your first step in a reference check is verifying the information regarding the title and dates the prospective employee has provided. If there are any discrepancies in that information, you will save the time you would have spent speaking to references.

Get Permission for Reference Checks
You need the applicant’s permission before going ahead with any reference checks. Taking permission for a reference check is a good practice, the main reason being that you will not jeopardize the applicant’s current job if their boss does not know that they are looking.

Check If the Employee can be rehired
The first question you need to ask the prospective employee’s supervisor is if the candidate can be rehired. Many companies do not allow employees to work for competitors for a certain time after leaving their current job. Be on the lookout for such policies.

Personal References
What happens if a company policy prevents you from getting a reference from your current employer? Just ask the applicant to provide the name of a person with whom they have worked in the past, like a coworker. A former manager who no longer works for the employee’s current company is also a good option. Many companies prohibit reference checks, but their policy might allow you to talk to any person working in that company on a personal basis.

Ask Smart Questions
Once you’ve determined that your prospective employee has provided the correct information regarding their job title and dates, start asking questions about the job requirements and the employee’s duties. Some examples are, “Does the job require supervision?”, or “How many clients does the candidate work with?” This is a smart way to check if the employee actually does the work that comes with their job title or is it just a fancy-sounding title for a humdrum job.

Did the Employee Really Work for the Specified Amount of Time?
Have they extended the dates of their previous employment? Maybe changed the year from 2016 to 2017 if they quit in the last quarter of the year? The best way to find out is to check for months to accompany the years. If the months are missing, it’s a red flag. Ask the candidate to provide their joining and leaving months. Their relieving letter will most probably have that information, so ask them to provide that early on.

There Are Too Many Glowing References
Everyone is encouraged to put their “self-employed” years on their CV too, but you are bound to give yourself glowing references. If you find such things filling the gaps in the prospective employee’s resume, you can ask them for their business cards or their clients’ names for a reference check.

Verify Recommendation Letters
When it comes to recommendation letters, there is a vast pool for fraud. Maybe the employee got a few papers containing the school letterhead and now that’s where your reference came from. Always call the person whose name is listed on the letter to verify.

LinkedIn Is a Good Place to Get References
With the advent of social media, it’s no difficult task to get friends and family to give you some recommendations. Ask the people who have given such recommendations if you can speak to them personally via phone or email. That’s the best way to verify if they really are business references or not. And if there are too many things that do not match up, it's time to let the candidate go and continue with your search.

Know When to Say "No"
If the prospective employee cannot dig up even a single person who can give you a reference, then it's time to look deeper. Why don’t they have any networks on LinkedIn or why can’t any of their colleagues give you any information about them? It’s time to let that candidate go if they cannot give you any reference and their only answer to is that the previous company shut down. It’s not so difficult to stay in touch with your coworkers in the age of social media.

Final Note
These basics of a reference check in Mississauga for any prospective employee is as important in Canada as it is in the rest of the world which needs to be conducted before the hiring process is complete. In a time where almost everyone is overstating their resume in some or the other way, a reference check is as essential as any interview round.