Reference Checking for Everyone: How to Find Out Everything You Need to Know About Anyone

by Paul W. Barada and J. Michael McLaughlin
McGraw-Hill, 224 pages, $11.66

Most managers agree that the one mistake they cannot afford to make is a bad hire and reference checking is a critical component in your hiring decision. Supervisors looking for the last word on reference checking will find Reference Checking for Everyone chock full of practical advice designed to save hassles, time, and face. Whether someone is unqualified or has a past history of spotty performance, this book will help you uncover personal information quickly. In addition, Barada simplifies various legal issues connected with reference checking and supplies information on how to protect your business.

The book begins by clarifying what reference checking is and what it isn't. Barada stresses that a reference is someone who has a business relationship with the candidate. He devotes adequate time to court, criminal and credit checks, but the bulk of the text is on reference checking. Reference Checking for Everyone explores the psychology behind professionals misrepresenting themselves and urges people checking up on them to see things from their perspective. The theory is that you will be able to spot disingenuous people if you understand their motivations and deceptions.

Whether you are conducting reference checks via phone, online, or in person, Barada includes specific guidelines and tips regarding legal and privacy issues. Especially insightful is the section devoted to checking licenses. "Unfortunately, the more respected the occupation, the less likely employers are to check the validity of the license associated with it," he writes. When a license can't be confirmed, Barada urges the checker to inform the candidate and give them a chance to prove that it is valid.

Recognizing the importance of speed and budget in the rapidly accelerating, bottom line conscious workplace, Barada's procedures reflect these demands. Reference Checking for Everyone includes sample questions and a waiver form and addresses problem areas such as how to check references for individuals without previous job experience and how to handle a "no comment" policy. Anyone in a hiring role looking for specifics on how to get the best person for your company will welcome this vital resource.

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