Research candidates in previous positions

In the case of a references study, we investigate to the bottom how the candidate has previously functioned, so that we can find out in no time whether, for example, destructive leadership has been present before.

A good references research requires at least two, preferably three sponsors. During a screening examination we check whether the information we have received from the candidate matches what the referent says. We not only look at competencies, but also ask a number of questions: how did the person in question function in the group? Were there problems, how did he or she deal with colleagues? Have there been any conflicts? In short: did someone behave with integrity? We ask these questions to referees, preferably the direct manager or an HR employee. A direct colleague can cover them. Just like the diploma examination, the references examination can only take place with the candidates’ permission. Candidates who do not give permission often do so in order to hide something. This is sufficient reason for us to start asking questions.

Recently, for example, there was a candidate who preferred not to have his current employer approached. We asked him: why not? We gave him the opportunity to inform his current employer of his application to another employer. He preferred not to: he was in the sickness law and the employer in question therefore thought he was ill. That immediately says a lot about the integrity of that candidate.


References research is always recommended

Many HR employees run up against it: applicants who predict themselves differently than they really are. A reference survey can usually overcome this. But for a thorough reference research you will have to get things out of the closet. At least three or four referees must have been interviewed; one referees is not enough to make an objective judgement about the candidate in question. Of course it makes sense to question the referees who have been given by the candidate. But it would be even better to question referees who have not been put forward by the candidate. Candidates logically exclude referees that they already know will not paint a positive picture. It is often this information that gives a complete picture of how someone actually behaved in the past.

In addition, the questioning of referees is about asking the right questions. A broad experience in interviewing techniques helps. Of course, questions about the period, nature and functioning of the applicant provide interesting information, but not what ultimately matters: the integrity of the candidate. Questions about this provide more insight into the behaviour of the applicant. A professional references survey does not aim to assess the quality of the candidate, but asks questions about reliability and integrity. Have there been fraud incidents or conflicts? How did he/she deal with this? What was the role within the company, how was the relationship with colleagues?

In fact, it’s all about gaining insight into the applicant’s morale. But the question is whether a referent has always been honest in his answers. Can he answer certain questions?

In any case, it is not advisable to rely on what one referent says about a candidate’.



A negative reference certainly does not mean that the candidate receives a negative opinion for the position for which he or she has applied. A good screening agency checks whether these negative elements are actually based on facts and not on assumptions and assumptions. A referent can have a totally unfounded opinion; even then it is a matter of objectifying the facts and thus giving a weighted opinion, based on facts.

A solid references survey ensures that you base your recruitment and selection process on well-informed choices. Does the survey confirm your image? Then you have had a good conversation with the candidate, lots of information for a flying start and you show that you take your responsibility as an employer seriously.


Referees are also fiddled with!

Would you like to have a candidate’s references checked? Contact us directly by telephone on +31 (088) 98 76 000, or visit our contact page. We will be happy to inform you about the possibilities.