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Reference checks remove one-third of job candidates

March 13 2019

Senior managers in the US removed approximately one in three candidates, 34%, from consideration for a position with their company after checking their references, according to a new survey from Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI).

Reference checks help employers get a stronger sense of whether a candidate will be a good fit, both in terms of skills and experience, as well as within the workplace culture, according to the report. Specifically, senior managers surveyed said they were most interested in getting a view of the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses and a description of their past job responsibilities and work experience.

Senior managers were asked, “When speaking to an applicant’s job references, what is the most important information you hope to receive?” Responses include:

  • A view into the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses: 38%
  • Description of past job duties and experience: 22%
  • Confirmation of job title and dates of employment: 19%
  • A sense of the applicant’s preferred work culture: 12%
  • Description of workplace accomplishments: 10%

The online survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in 28 major US cities.


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