When you hire legal support staff, it’s essential that they are professional, experienced and trustworthy. The best way to establish this is through reference checks. Reference checking can be one of the most important parts of the hiring process. It gives you the chance to speak with people who have firsthand knowledge of your candidate on the job.
Here’s How to Proceed
Ask for help. If you don’t hire often or if you are busy, you may not have the time or resources to conduct these in-depth checks on your own. Your legal support recruiter can help with this. They work with dozens or even hundreds of candidates every month and will have the systems in place to conduct these checks quickly and efficiently.
Start with basic employment checks. Sadly, it’s become increasingly common for candidates to lie or stretch the truth on their resumes. The only way to uncover these discrepancies is with thorough checks of their employment history and education.
Always check references. Even if you are in a hurry to fill the position never skip this step. It may save some time in the short term, but it’s really not worth the risk.
Get the right references. If none of the offered references was a direct supervisor, that can be a red flag. General professional references can be fine for an overview, but you should speak to a former manager for the best insight into their performance and professionalism.
Ask the right questions. Ask open-ended questions that allow references to provide plenty of detail regarding the candidate. If you ask yes or no questions, they may not expand upon the answers and you won’t get an accurate assessment.
Follow up. Ask follow up questions, particularly if the reference seems hesitant in their answers, doesn’t seem to remember the candidate well or if they are not particularly enthusiastic. If you have any nagging doubts, don’t let it go, keep probing until you get the information you need.
Making the effort to check references before extending an offer can help you to avoid costly hiring mistakes. To learn more about successfully hiring for your legal support team, contact the experts at Kent Legal. We can help you recruit and manage top legal support talent for your law firm or legal departments throughout the greater Toronto area. Contact us today.