What to Do When a Reference Check Doesn’t Work Out

A reference check plays a key role in the hiring process. If a job candidate’s reference check works out, it is often safe to assume that this individual can fill a role with your business. Conversely, if a candidate’s reference doesn’t work out, you may look to move forward with other applicants.

Here are things you can do to get the most value out of the engagement during a reference check.

1. Verify the Reference’s Credibility

Learn as much as you can about a candidate’s reference. If possible, find out why the candidate chose this individual as a reference, too. A reference should tell you about a candidate’s skills and experience in accordance with the qualifications required for a role with your company. He or she should also provide insights into a candidate’s ability to succeed within your business.

2. Provide Sufficient Information to the Reference About the Job

Share details about the job and what it entails. Next, a reference can explain how he or she believes a candidate will perform in this role. Ensure the reference understands the challenges associated with the job as well. This enables a reference to provide information about how a candidate may thrive when faced with adversity.

3. Use Open-Ended Reference Check Questions

Utilize open-ended questions that encourage a reference to provide thoughtful, detailed responses. An open-ended question opens the door to comprehensive candidate insights. As such, use open-ended questions whenever possible during a reference check.

4. Get Additional Feedback from Your Team

Reach out to team members who were involved in the interview process. From here, you can get a good idea about whether these individuals believe a candidate is the right choice to fill a role with your business. Remember, the more feedback you get from your team, the more you can learn about a candidate. And you can use your team’s insights to make an informed decision about whether to hire a candidate.

Reference Check Do’s and Don’ts

When you conduct a reference check, you need to plan accordingly. Here are reference check do’s and don’ts to help you do just that.


  • Ask specific questions to find out how a candidate could fit within your business.
  • Listen to what a candidate’s reference has to say.
  • Give a reference adequate time to respond to your questions.
  • Meet with your team to discuss a candidate’s fit.


  • Display negativity when you speak with a candidate’s reference.
  • Make rash judgments about a candidate based on their reference’s tone or inflection.
  • Hire a candidate without discussing him or her with your team.
  • Ignore a candidate’s references altogether.

Take Advantage of Reference Checks

Reference checks can deliver immense value to employers of all sizes and across all industries. Of course, if you need extra help with checking candidates’ references, you can seek out staffing services near me. This ensures you can partner with a professional staffing agency that can help you attract, recruit, and retain top talent.

Arrow Staffing can help you vet candidates and add exceptional professionals to your team. Contact us to request an employee today!

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