Cutting corners on taking verbal references - why should the recruiter take them?

There are so may facets to the recruitment process and with 19 years of recruiting experience under my belt it tends to come as second nature to me so I don't question what I do.... because it works!

I have been asked to do some training to a group of recruitment franchise owner/managers on the subject of "Taking verbal references" and I was hoping that I could get the membership here to give me some pointers as to why they take candidate references, how they go about getting the referees from candidates, the type of questions they ask and some examples of the real benefits to their desk.

What I hope to do is get them to buy into this element of the recruitment process, seeing it as a must do excercise, rather than a "well I know I should take references, but I dont" kinda attitude. In my opinion it should be second nature.

Please help me relate to those who want to be a big biller but sometimes question the methodology, or indeed ignore it!

Thank you all...

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One of the biggest reason I like to check my candidates references (my office many times sends it to an reference admin to be checked) is the access to talking with other passive candidates, many times the references are people I can either use or network with to find others that may have an interest in other opportunities too.
Since I work in the physician world now- most of the questions entail clinical work and I think it is important to recognize tonality in the answering of some of those questions too. It is always more reassuring to me handing them to my client and saying I did them- I think it creates more value to the client as well, especially if you asked more follow up questions to address something that maybe a below average response.
I agree that taking references is a simple method to networking and engaging with passive candidates. How quickly do you try and "turn" them into a candidate or client :-)
That is really up to them and their needs.....some instantly- some do not need me for some time and/or never.....like Bagger Vance (Will Smith in the movie) said "I just do the best I can with what I have to work with"
Rob - Do you perform reference checks on all candidates? The ones you submit to companies? The candidates in the offer stage? What's the timing on this?
Hi Nancy. I know Im not Bob :-)

References should be taken on all candidates before they are submitted to clients. You dont want to withdraw them after submission. It may also give you a fresh insght of the candiate that you can use during discussions with the client and candidate at anytime during the process..
We have a relatively small industry that we work in; we extensively interview our candidates, but, for legal reasons, do not do a reference check on them until an offer is on its way... We're considering changing this process a bit...
Thanks Nancy and Gavin, I like to have them on all!

However, at least in the physician world, it is not always possible due to confidentiality of some of the candidates looking- if they for instance work in a very small hospital and small town (everyone KNOWS everyone) and have been there for 20 years and they want their search to remain strictly confidential- I do not always get references on those types- but just hold off and I still get them later in the process (assuming they make it farther).

Even if I don't immediately use the candidate for a client I always ask for their resume (CV in the physician world) and 3 references- it helps build a network as well and establishes a better foundation if I run across an opportunity later- I already have their resume and references in my database and ready to submit.

I think this also depends on the vertical/niche as well- if you run a high volume operation, maybe it is not possible.

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