When Checking References, How Can I Get People to Talk?

A Kantola Learning Minute

An HR Manager says that it's getting harder and harder to learn anything when checking references on job applicants, especially from large companies. Why, and what can they do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

Hi, Les Rosen here with a Learning Minute. Here's an interesting question: It's harder and harder to actually learn anything, especially from big companies, when we call to check references. Any suggestions?

Well, the suggestion is that it might be hard because big companies are now being advised by their attorneys, frankly, more and more, not to give information because they have a fear of lawsuits. But from your point of view, you still need to try. Here's a couple of reasons: Number one, you need to demonstrate due-diligence, even if you call and don't get the good stuff, such as were they a good worker, how did they perform on teams, those sorts of things, you still want to document that you tried to ask the question. And more importantly, you will still probably get the answer to basic verification questions -- start date, end date, job title. That is critical as well.

So, the short answer is, you still need to call past employers as part of your due-diligence obligation when hiring a new employee.

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