What Is a Reference Check Form?

A Reference Check Form is a document that is used by companies when they want to check references that were given to them by a potential candidate. The purpose of the document is to collect information about the companies that a candidate has listed as their references. Later, the received information will be compared with the information provided by the individual and evaluated. 

Even though a reference check is a powerful instrument that can be used while looking for a perfect candidate, some states have strict regulations concerning the subjects. To avoid any difficult situations, a company should receive written consent from a prospective employee to check their references.

"Reference Check Form"

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This document is used by businesses that want to check references that were given to them by a potential candidate.

Related forms used in banking and loans are the Credit Reference Form (confirms the lending capacity of a prospective borrower) and the Credit Reference Request Form (used for requesting a reference from any company or financial institution you have worked with).

How Do You Do a Reference Check?

A reference check can be done by phone, however, some companies find it more efficient to email a form to a company (in some cases the regular mail can be used too). A documented reference check is usually more specific.

Generally, the document consists of several parts, which include the following:

  1. Information about a candidate. In the first part of the document, a filer should state the candidate’s full name.
  2. Information about a person who provided a reference check. Here an individual who provides a reference check should state their name, job title, department, and the name of the company where they work. It might be convenient to ask them to provide their contact information as well, in case there would be any other further questions.
  3. Reference check questions. This is the biggest part of the document, where a filer is supposed to ask questions about a candidate. It can be questions about how they performed their work duties, about their interpersonal skills, professional qualities, etc.
  4. Information about an employee who conducted a reference check. In the last part, an employee who performed a check should state their name and signature.

A filer can use other questions to ask for a reference check, such as:

  1. When did the candidate work for your company?
  2. What were the candidate’s duties?
  3. How did the candidate progress in their position?
  4. Why did the candidate leave the company?
  5. Would you hire the candidate again?

While evaluating the answers of the individual who has filled out a Reference Check Form, it is important to remember that they are not always objective and there can be some interpersonal situations that should be taken to account as well. Before making a decision an employer should consider that people change and use a reference check as a direction and not as a final answer.

What Can You Not Ask in a Reference Check?

The range of questions an employer can ask is very wide, nevertheless, there are questions that you cannot ask during a reference check. It can be a good idea to research the state's common laws or schedule a meeting with a local lawyer who has extensive knowledge on the subject. In addition to this, a company should avoid any discriminative questions, such as:

  1. Does the candidate have any children?
  2. What is the religion of the candidate?
  3. How old is the candidate?

Questions about a candidate’s marital status, race, sexuality, should always stay off the list. In fact, any questions that are not connected with a prospective employee’s work performance or professional qualities should not be asked during a reference check.

How Long Does a Reference Check Take? 

In order not to make a candidate wait too long, and considering how long and stressful the process of looking for a job can be, a reference check should be done as soon as possible. Normally, it will take from two to four days. However, if an HR manager is fully occupied with tasks it can take up to ten business days. If there is a possibility that a reference check can take longer than that, it might be a good idea to use a local reference check service.

A company that provides a reference check Service will require a client to provide all essential information to make checks, including information about the candidate and the references. After the check is done, a client will receive the results of the check documented by the service manager. 

Regardless of how the company would like to perform their checks, directly or through the services, they should always keep the results in their records for the future. There are a large number of situations where they can come in handy, for example, if the candidate would like to try working for the company again, or if they would like to know why they did not get the job.

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