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October 20, 2016


Three Ways Professional References Help You Source Great Talent

By: Erica Clausen-Lee, Chief Strategy Officer

While criminal records and education history can confirm a candidate’s qualifications and forecast potential security risks, there is no database available to report on an applicant’s work ethic. That’s why one of the most important services we provide at InfoMart is professional and personal reference checks.

A previous employer is going to have much more to say than what is listed on a candidate’s resume. This conversation between a previous manager and a trained InfoMart professional can shed light on whether an applicant is really the kind of talent your company wants.


Three Ways Professional References Help You Source Great Talent

Here are three ways professional reference checks are necessary to help you acquire the right talent for your business:

  • 1. Fact Checking – Professional references ensure that your applicant’s title and tenure are
    accurate. More importantly, fact checking confirms the skills and responsibilities that the
    candidate claims on their resume or CV and can tell you if those details have been embellished.
    Job titles, salary, and overall responsibilities may be misrepresented to make the applicant look
    more qualified on paper, but professional reference checks can catch these falsifications before
    you make a bad hire.
  • 2. Spongy Skills – Resumes don’t always do the best job of capturing a candidate’s spongy
    and soft skills. Spongy skills speak more to an applicant’s adaptability, problem solving abilities,
    and initiative, while soft skills are characteristics such as communication and the ability to
    collaborate. Neither spongy nor soft skills can be assessed without having spent considerable
    time with an individual, so previous employers can provide unique insights that assist in hiring

  • 3. Interactions with Team Members – Your company is one big team made up of smaller
    teams with specific responsibilities, and you rely on the knowledge that those teams work well
    together. However, you also understand that when a new player enters the game, there are going
    to be changes.

    People react differently when working with their peers and managers. Some employees are the
    type to speak up during a meeting, while others are not. Assessing an applicant’s resume may
    give you a clear picture of their qualifications as an individual, but provide little evidence that they
    are a good team player. Managers are trained to appraise how their employees interact and notice behavioral patterns, so previous employers can enlighten you to a candidate’s efficacy in team environments.

Professional references have a much larger role in the hiring process than many people believe. They provide a subjective opinion of an applicant that is not your hiring manager’s sole opinion and paint a more well-rounded picture of the potential employee for assessment.

With a professional background screening company like InfoMart, references also contribute another layer of due diligence for your company. For an opinion you can confirm, references are the answer. For an opinion you can trust, InfoMart is the screening provider to use.

What are some surprising things you’ve learned about an applicant during a professional reference check? Share your stories with us on social media!

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