Reference checks were included in a background checking package selected by one of our insurance clients for a prospective employee. The candidate’s referee at one of the big Australian banks firstly explained to our Research and Investigation Specialist that the candidate had resigned four days prior to a planned overseas trip, opting not to serve his notice period. The referee went on to explain that on the day the candidate resigned, it was discovered he had breached several codes of conduct, including sending new claims to archives without completing the required assessment. The candidate was escorted from the building that day and removed from the business. The referee advised that the candidate’s performance had been poor and that he consistently displayed behaviour that was not aligned to the company’s values, such as those relating to honesty and integrity in dealings with leadership, peers and customers. The referee advised that it took a full-time technical resource six months working in the candidate’s role to restore his portfolio to company standards. In case we were in any doubt, the referee confirmed that the bank would not re-employ the candidate!
Sometimes references are viewed as the “tick the box” of background checking and more focus is given to checks that provide factual data such as police checks and bankruptcy checks. It comes as no surprise to our team at PeopleCheck when we receive references such as in this case that contain information that otherwise would not have been highlighted by other background checks. Even verifying the factual details of this candidate’s period of employment with HR did not reveal the extent of the candidate’s inappropriate conduct and the damage inflicted on the business. Begone the illusion of “tick the box”; when undertaken with a former manager or supervisor, reference checks are clearly powerful in providing tools for employers to wield in making crucial hiring decisions.