By checking a candidate’s references, you can obtain additional information about applicants and help verify their previous work and volunteer history.
Here are some best practices to consider in your reference checks.
- Obtain verbal, not just written, references for applicants. Phone conversations with two or three previous employers can elicit much more information than written responses.
- Match references with employment and volunteer history. Is anyone important or most relevant missing from the references, such as the supervisor from the applicant’s most recent job, or any reference from a former employer in a child-related field? Is there a valid reason for any omission, such as applicants wanting to keep their current employer from learning they are looking for a new position? To provide a more complete picture of the applicant, references should come from a variety of sources and should not be limited to family members or friends.
- Be aware that many employers will only provide basic information, such as dates of employment or rehiring eligibility. If a former employer will only provide limited information, it could be a red flag. In those cases, it’s important to clarify whether the person providing the reference is limiting information because of company policy.
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