Over the years I have worked with managers that have varied ideas on checking references. Some insisted, some liked to have them and some couldn’t have cared less. Here’s why I always asked for and checked them.
Here is why I think it’s important to the hiring manager.
1. It saves the managers if the hire doesn’t work out.
2. It makes the manager feel better about their choice in candidates
3. It could potentially bring up red flags that need to be addressed or change the decision of the hire (a good thing)
Here is why it’s important for you as the recruiter to do it.
1. Having them done saves you time and effort if the manager asks for them
2. It’s part of your value ad to the hiring process
Here’s the big one. Every reference that you speak to is a potential candidate. They typically have similar experience or industry knowledge. If you’re worried about them being a manager or too senior, ask the candidate for peers.
Assume that they are on the market and interested. Don’t say “you’re not looking right? I didn’t think so”. Pitch Lowe’s like crazy to them and talk about a specific job. If they are not interested ask them this “who else are you a reference for right now?” Do this after you have pitched Lowe’s and I guarantee they will give you a name or say “I do know someone else that is looking”
Make sure you ask the candidate for email and phone numbers for the references (some of this is on record in the candidates forms they fill out in LCP). I send outlook invites to the references so I have a scheduled time to talk only after the candidate has given me permission or the go ahead to do this.
If you are concerned that this will add hours of time to your already busy schedule I can tell you that this will actually save you time in the long run. This will generate candidates and hires. It’s a good meeting to have with your managers and directors to formulate a list of reference questions to ask. They will like to get these, trust me. It will continue to increase your credibility with hiring managers and candidates and over all it will make for a strong candidate experience. Good luck!