Verifying Employee Qualifications
Why Do Reference Checks?
The University has an obligation not to "negligently hire." It is essential that we not hire people who might endanger our employees or students.
People sometimes falsify their credentials and backgrounds, especially in times of economic hardship, so it is important to check them out.
People sometimes interview well, but have a record of not actually performing as well as they have led you to believe.
It is important to check out any area in which you have doubts or uncertainties. Often, reference checks will dispel these or give you information which will help you be a more effective supervisor of the new employee.
Reference checks are a form of insurance. The time used to conduct reference checks is far less than the time it will take down the road to deal with performance, attitude, or behavior problems.
References are also helpful in understanding a candidate's strengths and areas for growth. This information can form the basis for performance management, should you select the candidate.
How Do I Check Background for Internal Candidates?
Reviewing Work Performance
As part of the review of the list of candidates to be interviewed, it is your responsibility to review the work performance in the electronic personnel file. It is recommended that you review several performance evaluations, not just the most recent, to obtain a more accurate picture of the candidate.
Note that as of May 2006 Human Resources is in the process of scanning all personnel files. If a file is not available electronically, contact your Employment Process Coordinator for access. It is anticipated that all files will be scanned by the end of 2006.
Reviewing Rehire Status
You are also responsible for checking rehire status of candidates to be interviewed to ensure that they are eligible to work in the position for which they are being considered. When a candidate is listed as recommended for rehire in a different position, it may be necessary to review the work performance history from their prior employment to assess their suitability for the current opening.
Applicants listed as not recommended for rehire, are not to be considered for the position.
How Do I Check Background for Outside Candidates?
For outside candidates, the Health Systems utilizes a service called "Hire Right," which does criminal background and sex offender registry checks, and ensures that the employee has the necessary licenses and certificates. See your Employment Process Coordinator for more details.
You should also call former supervisors, personal references listed by the candidate, or others who know the candidate. People are often reluctant to provide truthful references. However, you can often pick up information "off the record," or find out what is in the personnel files.
Educational degrees should always be verified. Call the school's registrar's office for the individual procedures for obtaining verification of degrees.
A telephone verification form (PDF) documents that you checked educational and background qualifications.
Questions to Ask a Reference Person:
- In what sort of capacity do you know the candidate?
- How long have you known the candidate?
- Give the person a brief description of the job and special needs of the job. Ask the reference if they believe this type of job is a good fit for the candidate.
- Ask follow-up questions and obtain as much information as possible.
- Ask if there's anything else they might want to tell you.
- If the reference person is a former supervisor, ask them if they would rehire the person. A "No" answer without extenuating circumstances should raise a warning.