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Why are reference checks important?

21 March 2023

When you have been through the long process of finding the perfect person for your vacant role, it can be hard to delay offering them the position straight away. It’s exciting, and you want to snap them up before someone else does! However, we would always suggest you complete at least one reference check as a final check on your perfect candidate before you confirm the offer.


Although your screening, testing and interviewing process may have been very thorough, you are not getting a full picture of the employee. Performing behaviour-based reference checks with people who have managed and worked closely with the candidate provides you with information from someone else’s point of view about how they have reacted or behaved under certain conditions.

With a reference check you can gain vital information about how your perfect candidate likes to be managed and what motivates them. Additionally you can learn what they do well and don’t do well, as well as any issues you might need to watch for. This can help you understand them a little better, even before they start working for you. Ultimately, it gives you an external view of the candidate from someone else’s experience and this can be valuable.

A reference check can also verify information you were provided by the candidate, such as how long they were in a role or what their title was. Some candidates over inflate their role within a business so it’s important to understand who they reported to and clarify if they were the person responsible for a project or if they assisted on the project they said they did.

People rarely give the names of references who won’t say nice things about them, but by asking the right questions you can gain a lot of information quickly and at very little cost. The reference check is an essential part of the hiring process which we would recommend you never skip.

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