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Making a habit of reference checks

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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you check candidate references as part of the hiring process?

  • Yes, 81%
  • Sometimes, 13%
  • No, 6%

I don’t know if there is a way to drill down into companies that say they check references but do them simply as a token gesture. I’ve been at companies where references were seen as a hurdle rather than a tool, and it definitely changed the way they were done. So while I commend those 81% for doing the right thing, I’ve got to ask: are they doing anything for you or are you just doing it because it is an expectation?

Lance Haun is community director for, the main guy over at and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.