Reference Checking: Getting Information -- Safely
BY Donna Fenn
Some tips on legal reference checking from an HR expert.
Fear of lawsuits makes reference checking harder than ever these days. That means you'll have to exercise a little caution and dig a bit deeper. Robert LoPresto, coauthor of The Reference CheckingHandbook (Society for Human Resource Management, 800-444-5006, $20), offers these tips:
· Obtain job candidates' written permission to check references. Consider asking applicants to sign a liability waiver for employers who give reference-checking information.
· "Gather as much historical factual data as possible" from the employee and past employers. "Past success predicts future success."
· Beware of inaccuracies. "What we look for more than anything else is integrity. It's the number one criteria for success."
· Talk to former supervisors, peers, and, if appropriate, subordinates. "You want to find out what they're like to work with and for."