An alarming percentage of 1,331 human-resources professionals recently surveyed bemoaned the inadequacy of information they received through reference checks. Here's where they had trouble:

Percentage who received

Job-related topic inadequate information

Salary history 30%

Qualification for a particular job 30%

Human-relations skills 43%

Reason candidate left former employer 44%

Work habits (absence, tardiness) 48%

Personality traits 52%

Violent or bizarre behavior 54%

Source: "Reference-Checking Survey," Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, Va., June 1995.

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