Ask Barb: Conducting Reference Checks

Dear Barb:

It is getting more difficult than ever to conduct reference checks. Do you think we should outsource checking references to a third party provider? Should we just discontinue offering reference checking as a service we provide? I’d also like to know when you conduct reference checks and who conducts them.

Irene V., Evansville, IN

Dear Irene:

I would not recommend that you outsource reference checking unless it is a requirement you receive from specific clients. My reasons are as follows:

  1. Converting reference checks into marketing presentations is one of the most effective ways to develop new clients.
  2. The information you receive from reference checks can be used when you are selling your candidates to your clients.
  3. The individuals who you contact can become future clients, candidates, or part of your professional network.
  4. When rookies check a reference prior to presenting their candidates to senior recruiters, the senior recruiter has more information to present to their clients

My Candidate Specialists are the individuals who conduct reference checks. We conduct reference checks when we have determined that this is a candidate we will represent.

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One more tip: If a supervisor refuses to provide very limited information, I explain my reputation is at stake and ask if they will just answer one question, “Is this person eligible for rehire?” If they say, “Yes” – you have a positive reference check. If they say, “No” – go back to your candidate and obtain additional references. We also check one personal reference to obtain information not available from any other source.

If you’d like a copy of our personal reference check, please email us at Hope this assists you in making your decision.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


1 Comment on “Ask Barb: Conducting Reference Checks

  1. I landed a two-million dollar staffing contract based on a reference check, simply by doing what Barb advises. Just do it – it works!

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