www.cos-mag.com
Jul 4, 2010

Reference checks remove one in four job candidates from consideration

By Workplace Staff
A strong resume and interview may place job seekers in the running for a position, but a new survey from OfficeTeam finds the results of a reference check can be the real deal maker - or breaker.

Managers interviewed said they remove more than one in four (26 per cent) candidates from consideration after speaking to their professional contacts. When it comes to what hiring managers are looking for when speaking to references, nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) said they are most interested in learning about the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Getting a description of the individual’s past job duties and experience came in second, with 27 per cent of the response.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 300 Canadian senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.  

Managers were asked, “Approximately what percentage of job candidates do you remove from consideration for a position with your company after checking their references?” The average response was 26 per cent.  

Managers also were asked, “When speaking to an applicant’s job references, what is the most important information you hope to receive?” Their responses:

A view into the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.........................................   29%

Description of past job duties and experience.....................................................   27%

Description of workplace accomplishments...............................................................   14%

Confirmation of job title and dates of employment.......................................................     9%

A sense of the applicant’s preferred work culture........................................................     7%

Other/don’t know.....................................................................................................   14%

“When hiring managers narrow the field to a few potential candidates, the reference check often becomes the deciding factor,” says OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “To distinguish themselves from the competition, job seekers should assemble a solid list of contacts who can persuasively communicate their qualifications and professional attributes.”

OfficeTeam is a leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 320 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.