By Diane Zwirecki


You’ve completed pre-screening, one-on-one interviews with a candidate, and you feel confident they’d make a good hire. Do you really need to check their references, too?

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Often dismissed as an unnecessary formality, professional reference checks are an excellent opportunity to gain an outside perspective on a candidate. They can also prove essential for effective risk management and help you avoid the potentially staggering costs of a bad hire.

The truth is: Not everyone is truthful, especially when it comes to their resumes. Various studies have supported this, including one by, which noted that an astounding 93 percent of Americans know someone who falls into this dubious category.

What Happens If You Cut Corners

The collateral damage that can result from skipping a candidate reference check might look like:

  • A productivity nosedive: You want – and need – to hire only candidates whose qualifications and skillsets match your job description. Who would know better than professionals who have worked with an applicant before?
  • A fatal blow to morale: One bad hire can have a domino effect on a team or even an entire company. If your newbie doesn’t produce, someone else is pressured to pick up the slack. This results in stress, frustration, dissatisfaction, and ultimately, a revolving door as more and more people decide to find what they’re looking for elsewhere. The insight you gain from a reference check can prevent this from happening.
  • A costly miss-hire: You’ve probably heard the financial cost of having to rehire after a candidate doesn’t work out – up to two times their annual salary or more, depending on the position. Even worse: you may land a difficult or dangerous new employee who poses a real threat to their team and your organization.
  • Your reputation hitting bottom: Word travels like wildfire, whether it’s from person to person or online. You want to be known as the company that hires and appreciates only the best. Because that’s where the very best talent will want to work.
  • A lawsuit: If you wind up terminating a bad hire, there’s always the possibility they could pursue legal action as a result. Then, on top of all the other heartache, you have a court case to deal with.

Now, are you convinced?

A Few Reference Check Tips

Remember, your goal is to hire only candidates who have the skillset, proficiency, and personality that match your job description as you conduct reference checks.

  • Be consistent. Ask the same questions about all candidates for a position to avoid a potential discrimination charge. As you do so, be sure to comply with all relevant laws. Keep all inquiries strictly job-related.
  • Make sure all your references are relevant. Check at least three references in total – and make each one count. For example, if you’re interviewing for a management-level role, be sure to include someone who has reported to a candidate in the past, as well as perhaps a peer and a supervisor.

To help ensure that you cover all the bases when it comes to reference checks – in fact, background and drug screens from start to finish – consider a partnership with Chane Solutions. We’re known nationwide for providing accurate reports while maintaining compliance. Contact us today to learn more.