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Reference Checks - Hiring Virtual Team Members - 3 Myths | discoveryourpowerteam.com
 

Reference Checks – Is it necessary to check references when hiring team members?

Reference checking is one of those tasks often ignored by entrepreneurs who are hiring team members.  Is this a wise decision? Today we’ll dispel three myths on the topic of reference checking!

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I am currently working with one of my clients to fill a Virtual Assistant role on her team.  I’ve proposed the top two candidates I feel are the best fit for her, her business and her team.  She has met both, and now one more step is essential prior to extending an offer to one of the amazing candidates.  Any idea what that step is?  I need to set up appointments to speak with the candidates’ references.

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I can hear some of you saying: “You are checking references?  Really?  Is this really necessary?  Is it not a waste of time?  Obviously candidates would not provide the names of people who might speak ill of them.  Would they?”  I’ll address these myths in a minute, but first, let me share an important statistic with you.

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Did you know that according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) more than eight out of ten human resource professionals said that they regularly conduct reference checks for professional, executive, administrative, and technical positions. Some of you will say yes, that may be true of the corporate world, but is it really necessary in the entrepreneurial world? Reference checks for online businesses? 

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In my opinion – checking references of individuals you are planning to bring into your business, whether employees or contractors, whether you are a corporation, small business or solopreneur, is absolutely necessary!!  In fact, it is a must! 

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Typically, reference checks are done directly before you make a job offer.

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Here are the TOP 3 MYTHS I hear time and time again related to reference checking:

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Myth #1 – The reference check is unimportant; it is a waste of time!

The purpose of a reference check is to verify your candidate’s experience and any positive thoughts or concerns you may have.  You do this by speaking with an independent third party who knows and has worked with the individual you are thinking of hiring.  In order to make this process as efficient as possible, only check the references of your top candidate, unless you have two candidates you consider to be equal.

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Myth #2 – There is no such thing as a bad reference check

Many think that people who are contacted for reference checks, won’t answer our questions honestly.  While, due to privacy laws, you have to be careful about the types of questions you ask references, in my experience people do respond honestly.  Here is a tip, it is as much about what people say as what they don’t say.  Their tone of voice, and their unwillingness to answer certain questions can provide you a tremendous amount of information. 

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Also remember that by answering your questions, a reference is putting their reputation on the line.  Would you refer a previous employee or contractor who was unqualified or underperformed while they worked with you?

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Myth #3 – Reference checks are only used for corporate jobs, not to fill employee positions or contract roles in small business

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Chances are you have worked incredibly hard to get your business to where it is today!  Are you ready to trust just anyone with your business? View reference checks as an investment in your business, as a step to finding the right people to partner with you in your business.

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Questions?  What questions do you have about conducting reference checks?  What experience have you had with reference checks?  Click the Comments button and fill me in!

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To your empowerment and success,

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