Employment Screening 101: The Reference Interview-Part 10

Jason Morris

Contacting business and/or personal references can be valuable source of information about your applicant’s general image, work habits and character as perceived by others. These Reference Interview can also offer insight into the candidate’s trustworthiness, reliability, competency and integrity and help one candidate stand out from the field.

Many times in employment background screening organizations tend to look at negatives; information to disqualify an individual for employment. Unlike countywide criminal searches and employment and education verifications most often a reference interview will note positive attributes of an individual. I remember a few years ago when we had two great candidates for an Account Executive position; both candidates were essentially equal in every way however one had a stellar reference that put her over the edge.

It is important that I divulge that I am not in favor of reference interviews in place of employment verifications. The candidate will often provide names of references they know will say favorable things about them. In employment verifications, you are contacting their former employers who tend to be less biased in their remarks. Plus, if the past employer does provide favorable remarks, it is usually much more reliable. Bottom line, a reference interview is a good compliment or added level to the employment verification.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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