So it goes without saying that thorough research and related background checks of potential employees is not just a good hiring procedure, it’s vital to maintaining the strength and backbone of a company’s workforce. But there must be care on both sides. Just as a recruiting firm does extensive background checks on potential candidates for business clients, any company looking to use a recruitment firm should also ask the right questions. For example, ask the recruitment firm some probing questions on how it verifies qualified candidates:
- How many professional, unsolicited references does it research for the candidates it recommends? Personal references usually are a waste of time—we all have friends who would swear we’re the best and brightest, and perfect for that high-level position.
- Does the recruitment firm speak directly to the person providing the reference, or is it a more impersonal and hard-to-gauge response through mail or e-mail?
- What kinds of questions are asked of each potential candidate? An experienced research and recruitment professional asks probing questions which require detailed answers. For example, " What was the candidate’s sales volume for the last three years?" or "Give me a specific example that demonstrates the candidate’s success at mentoring his or her staff."
- Most importantly, does the research and recruitment firm document these conversations, background data and reference checks? Extensive documentation can catch discrepancies in a candidate’s history—information which would be important to know so that a potential employer can deal with it now, rather than later.
SOURCE: Kathleen Duffy Ybarra is president of Duffy Research, Inc., an eight-year-old Phoenix-based research and professional recruitment firm with a national client base and associates located in four states. Duffy Research Inc. may be contacted at 602/942-7112. Web site live December 1, 1999 at www.duffyresearch.com.