Reference checking

One of the services we offer here at KHES is reference checking. Reference checking can be a time consuming and difficult process for an employer. The level of information you require will vary depending on the role you are recruiting for, but some of the areas you may want to know about are given below. The most important areas are to confirm are that the candidate was employed when they said they were and that the sickness absence does not indicate problems ahead.

  • Job title
  • Employment history – e.g. roles undertaken
  • Length of employment
  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Salary
  • Capability in current role
  • Any training/qualifications received
  • Sickness absence record
  • Disciplinary record
  • Reasons for leaving
  •  Would you re-employ

Who should I be contacting for a reference?

  • Current employer
  • Previous employers (last 5 years normally)
  • College/university/school
  • Friend/colleague (character reference only)

At what point should references be requested?

Employers must remember that seeking references before you make a formal job offer, can cause problems if their current employer is unaware of their wish to leave. Therefore it is essential to ensure you obtain the candidate’s permission before contacting referees.

What can I expect?

Except in the financial service industries companies are under no obligation to provide a reference and many now adopt a policy of providing very limited information. This is often limited to how long the person was employed by the organisation and role undertaken.   While a glowing reference can seem very impressive it is not always an accurate indication of how the candidate will fit into your organisation and may actually reflect how much they want the person to leave!

New Face in the Office on Work Experience

After a long and exhaustive recruitment process (my wife told me her CV was good so I’d better take her on), I have offered a work experience placement to Abi Finneran for 4 weeks. Rather foolishly I asked her to write a blog of her experiences! so here is day 1.

Day one

During my first day working for Kieron Hill, I was welcomed with a positive enthusiastic greeting as I settled into my new environment. This would be my first time I’ve worked in an office environment, working alongside only a small number of individuals but I was keen to learn the trades of working in a human resource environment.

The first thing I learnt was using Share Point as a form of storing and sharing work with each other quickly and efficient. How exciting. I was set the task to complete references letters for employers. While I was completing this, I would over hear conversations between Kieron and his clients discussing current issues they are experiencing. He would then discuss the issue with me and ask for my own opinion on the situation. Sometimes these discussions could go on for a while (he does like his rants) but it made me understand how ever daft some of the situations can get, they still need to be sorted correctly.

I was later asked to complete a basic disclosure online of an employee for a client. This was the first time I had ever completed a CRB document which I found interesting as I had always wondered how it worked and looked therefore doing it for a client was the perfect opportunity to experience the procedure in completing this documentation, although the wording of the document was so bizarre, I had to contact Disclosure Scotland just to work out which address they wanted. Talk about time consuming.

Once all the admin work I was set was completed, I conducted research into the new employment laws being enforced throughout 2013. Research in my eyes is incredibly boring. It usually takes me weeks before I actually get around to opening a book as the T.V is always more attractive. Although for the first time in years I was actually interested in what I needed to look up. After I had found the articles and viewpoints on the new laws, another deep discussion was formed and for the first time all day, I actually knew what I was talking about (it shocked me as well).

Overall, I did find my first day very enjoyable and learnt a variety of new things I wouldn’t expect to find in a HR department as well as certain issues raised by clients and the best way to handle the situation correctly but in all honesty, I was so exhausted all I wanted to do was go to bed.

Good news?

It’s common in blogs like these to concentrate on the problems employees cause you but this week I wanted to talk about two good experiences my salon clients have had in employing staff. On both occasions the salon wanted to hire someone for about 16 hours a week because both owners had found themselves spending all their time rushing about giving their clients an excellent service, but only found time to do the marketing and administration late at night. Ideally they wanted to hire someone full time but couldn’t afford the wages that would entail.

After a fairly disappointing recruitment campaign we approached a local college to see if they had any recently qualified students we could take on. It turned out that not only did they have the people we needed but if we took them on on an apprenticeship we could also receive a grant to help with the wage costs. All we had to agree to was that they were paid at least £2.60 an hour, and that they attended college 6 hours a week.

One student has now started and the other vacancy is being filled at the moment. Of course there is no guarantee that the new staff will turn out alright but then that’s true however you recruit them. My experience of helping my clients take on these apprentices has been so good I’m interviewing a couple of young people to be an apprentice for me this week. So we have three young people being employed. It may not be much but it makes for a good positive story to start the week.