It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of adding someone to the team, but it is important to slow down and take our time. The old adage of “hire slow, fire fast” is true – we want to take our time to discern and decipher if adding this new team member is best for the organization. We might find ourselves wanting to skip steps in the process (especially when we’re facing a vacancy in a critical position) but it’s better to take our time than to hire the wrong person.
Checking references for a potential applicant may seem like simply checking a box, but we would be wise to make the most of this part of the hiring process. Yes, the references an applicant gives us may be biased toward the individual (it is highly unlikely that someone would write down a reference they weren’t certain would give a glowing report), but there is still valuable information we can glean from a quick phone call to them.
There are four main categories you should cover when talking to references: Background, Skills, Organizational Fit, and Bottom Line.