woman magnifying glassIf you were to buy some expensive equipment for your business worth say $10,000 would you solely rely on what the salesperson has to say?

For a $10,000 purchase, you would do a bit of homework before you bought it?  Wouldn’t you?

Let’s say it was a $20,000 purchase, would you ask for testimonials from people who have used the equipment before you bought it, and find out how well it worked?

Why is it then, that when it comes to an even bigger ‘purchase’ getting testimonials is often overlooked?

What I am talking about is hiring a new staff member and checking their references.  Despite what some people may tell you, no system for hiring staff will ever be 100% effective. ‘Gut instinct’ only goes so far, and face to face interviews are not foolproof.

So why is it that an interview is so commonly used?  Interviews are a great way to sit down face to face with the candidate and get to know them.  It’s a great opportunity to hear what they have to say about the great things they have done, how great they are and how good they will be if you hire them.

A great old saying springs to mind

‘They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?’

Let’s face it, can you really get all the information you need to invest tens of thousands of hard earned dollars from a 40 minute interview!

Have I convinced you about the importance of including reference checking in your recruitment process yet?  If not, get ready for some cold hard facts…

Unfortunately, people lie; it is a fact of life. Candidates, to make themselves sound more impressive, fabricate previous work experience on their resumes frequently. This is one of the reasons why human resources professionals verify references to make sure that the potential employee really has worked where they said they worked.  Likewise, no one wants to hire someone who does not possess the proper qualifications. Think of the reputational damage of telling a customer about your new top notch therapists’ qualifications, only to find out these qualifications did not really exist.  Likewise, the embarrassment you’d face if the Immigration Service turned up at your salon to question you about hiring an illegal worker.

Checking references saves a company time and money and a candidates past performance can be an indicator of their future performance.

So, next time you are making that big ‘purchase’ remember to check that the person can ‘walk the walk as well as talk the talk’ by making sure you check out their references and credentials before you let them loose on your clients. Otherwise that big ‘star purchase’ might turn out to be a dud, or worse yet you could be hiring someone with a worse track record than Sweeney Todd!