It is normal to have questions about hiring in the metals industry. One of the most common is, when should you ask for references? Many companies ask for references all the time. Others never do. Still others find a middle ground.
If you don’t use them properly, references may not be useful. But when used properly, they can provide valuable insights and help you choose the right candidate. Overall, it’s smart to ask for references if you can use them correctly.
When Should You Ask for References – At What Stage?
Once you decide to go ahead and ask for references, the question becomes when to check them. Checking references too early takes too long, as you will look into references of people who don’t have a chance of being hired by your metals company. But checking too late limits your options if the references go poorly.
So when should you ask for references? Do it after you’ve narrowed your candidates down to a short list but before you make an offer. You won’t spend too much time talking to references, but you won’t be limited in your options for candidates.
What References to Ask For
Part of the reason some metals companies don’t ask for references is that they aren’t always useful. If someone lists their best friend or a family friend, you won’t get real insights. You will only get positives.
A good alternative is to ask for previous workplaces and to talk to their managers. Remember to give the option of not reaching out to their current boss. After all, not everyone wants to let their current job know they are hunting for a new role. You could also ask for references from former colleagues.
Ask for References If You Know What to Ask
References will only be useful if you ask the right questions. Always make sure to tell the person on the phone that your conversation is confidential and you won’t tell the candidate what they said. This encourages honesty.
Then, ask about the following:
- How the working relationship between the candidate and reference was
- When and how long they worked together
- The candidate’s title and responsibilities
- Any promotions the candidate received
- Any special accomplishments the candidate had while working there
- How they would rate the candidate on important skills for the metals job
- Communication skills
- Working on a team versus working alone
- The candidate’s greatest strengths and weaknesses
- Why the candidate left
- If the reference would rehire them
Savvy metals companies ask for references from potential candidates. Ask after you’ve narrowed your potential candidate list down but before offering the role to someone. Ideally, talk to previous managers or bosses instead of personal references. With the right questions, you can get valuable insights to help you hire the right person for the role.
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