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Job Interviews Screening Applicants Hiring Reference Checking

My manager and I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position, and the interview went extremely well. The applicant has a great background, and he had excellent answers to our questions. After the interview, my manager said that the candidate is so strong that we should forget about reference checks and just offer him the position. What do you think?

Unfortunately, when it comes to some seemingly excellent applicants, there is less than what meets the eye. Over the years, there have been many cases where charming, articulate, and engaging applicants have turned out to be fakes or flakes. When these individuals are hired, it is just a matter of time before the truth comes out, and it is never a pretty sight.

Reference checks are actually reality checks, and they are critical because they are the only way to know if an applicant is fact or fiction. Even if such references only verify an applicant’s previous title and tenure, that is valuable data.

At the same time, if you find that the information in a reference check differs from what the candidate has said, you should not instantly disqualify the candidate. Rather, you should contact the applicant and let him or her know about the discrepancy. If an employer has made a mistake, the applicant is likely to take action to correct it quickly. And if the applicant disappears, the only mistake would have been to hire him or her.

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