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Why Healthcare Recruiters Need to Check the Reference Before Hiring

November 10, 2023
A healthcare recruiter shaking hands with a candidate after an interview.

Healthcare recruiters are responsible for ensuring that only the most suitable candidates are selected for a job. From the interview process to evaluating job performance, to assessing soft skills and important qualifications, HR staff must strive to extract verified and accurate information and relay everything to the hiring manager. Part and parcel of this process is thoroughly checking references before making a final decision in recruiting a possible candidate.

In this article, we will break down the reasons why the reference-checking process matters more than we think. Read more on how the reference check process works, asking the right reference check questions, obtaining vital details like contact information and conducting a background check for your job candidate of choice, and how this ultimately leads to a significant improvement in the system and workflow within healthcare facilities.

Check the Reference: What's In It for You

A reference check is a process that provides valuable insights into a healthcare applicant's work history, achievements, and relevant information either to justify or take away from the candidate's overall suitability for the position. By speaking to a previous employer or even a former colleague of the applicant, recruiters can gain a deeper understanding of the candidate's skills, strengths, and weaknesses. This allows them to make informed judgments about a potential fit within the company culture and their ability to perform well on the job and narrow a pool of many options down to the top candidates.

Moreover, reference checks can uncover any red flags that may have been overlooked during interviews or resume screenings like personal information that sounds questionable, or competencies that seem to not be grounded in reality when put to the test. Overall, it's good practice for interviewers to take the time to check references as this demonstrates due diligence on behalf of recruiters and contributes to building a strong and successful workforce for any organization, especially healthcare-related ones.

What Reference Checking Questions Must Be Asked?

When conducting reference checks, healthcare recruiters must ask pertinent questions that delve into a candidate's skills, work ethic, and overall performance. Some factors that you can turn into reference-checking questions include the following:

Question 1: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

You must ask about the candidate's strengths and weaknesses in order to get an unbiased evaluation of their abilities. By asking about strengths, HR professionals can gain insight into candidates' areas of expertise and identify whether they possess the necessary skills required for a specific healthcare job. Understanding a candidate's strengths allows HR to evaluate how they will contribute to the organization effectively and determine if their skill set matches the needs of the role.

Conversely, inquiring about weaknesses also provides valuable information regarding the areas in which a candidate may need additional support or development opportunities. This knowledge enables HR professionals to create effective onboarding and training programs tailored to address these weaknesses while leveraging their strengths at the same time.

Overall, healthcare employers must identify potential gaps within teams and foster a culture that encourages growth and continuous improvement. Ultimately, asking about both strengths and weaknesses in a professional setting ensures that HR makes informed decisions that align with organizational goals and drive healthcare employee success.

Question 2: Can you describe how you work with your colleagues in healthcare?

You must also explore the candidate's interpersonal skills by asking how well they collaborate with fellow healthcare professionals and what they contribute to the team. Effective communication and collaboration are essential for building strong relationships among healthcare employees, teams, and departments. By assessing the candidates' interpersonal skills during the hiring process, HR can identify those who have the ability to work well with other healthcare professionals, to resolve conflicts amicably, and adapt to diverse working styles.

Furthermore, it's good to note that healthcare employees with strong interpersonal skills are more likely to exhibit empathy and emotional intelligence, enabling them to understand different perspectives and develop better rapport with clients or customers. These skills also contribute to a harmonious environment and reduce instances of misunderstandings or confrontations between healthcare workers.

Ultimately, by prioritizing interpersonal skills in their hiring decisions, HR can ensure that the organization is staffed by healthcare professionals who are not only competent but are also capable of fostering a cooperative and collaborative culture.

Question 3: Can you share an incident when you showed how fast-thinking, efficient, or responsible you are?

HR must also assess the reliability and punctuality of the candidates by asking for examples of how often they met deadlines or handled challenging situations. This is because these qualities are critical for maintaining a productive and efficient healthcare facility - reliability ensures that healthcare employees can be trusted to fulfill their responsibilities consistently, meet deadlines, and follow through on commitments like working irregular hours, while punctuality is essential in fostering a professional atmosphere where everyone is expected to arrive on site promptly.

Reliability and punctuality demonstrate respect for others' efforts and time and also cement a healthcare professional's commitment to their job. By gauging a candidate's reliability and punctuality during the hiring process, HR can assess if they possess the necessary characteristics to respond well to the demands of the healthcare field and officially be part of your healthcare team to accomplish your goals and visions together.

Question 4: Are you ready for your skills and thinking test?

Much like asking needed questions about skillsets and work ethic, HR must also conduct skills and critical thinking tests as a crucial part of their hiring process. Such tests provide valuable insights into a candidate's abilities and potential to contribute effectively to the healthcare team. Skills tests help HR professionals evaluate whether candidates possess the necessary competencies required for specific roles.

By assessing applicants' technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and proficiency in relevant software or tools, HR can ensure that only those who meet the job requirements are considered further. Additionally, critical thinking tests evaluate one's ability to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and demonstrate intellectual agility. This is particularly important for positions that require strategic decision-making or problem-solving capabilities.

These assessments help HR shortlist candidates who possess the cognitive abilities needed to thrive in demanding work environments and support organizational growth. Therefore, by conducting skills and critical thinking tests as part of their selection process, HR departments enhance the likelihood of making well-informed hiring decisions aligned with professional goals.

Question 5: Did you have any issues from your previous job?

Lastly, ask if the candidate is eligible for rehire or if there were any concerns during their employment period. Asking about issues from previous employment is crucial for onboarding. By delving into past experiences, HR professionals can gain insights into your work ethic, abilities, and compatibility with the organization's values and culture. This approach also allows HR to identify any potential red flags or patterns of behaviour that could impact the individual's future performance within the company.

Additionally, discussing previous employment history provides an opportunity to assess how well candidates handled challenging situations or engaged in conflict resolution. Their ability to reflect upon and learn from past experiences can indicate a higher level of self-awareness and growth mindset. Ultimately, inquiring about issues from previous employment enables HR professionals to make informed decisions regarding recruitment and selection, ensuring they find the most qualified healthcare workers with clean records and verified credentials.

A list of the reference-checking questions that a healthcare recruiter should ask.

Who Should You Ask for a Reference Check?

Some of the people you should ask for a recruitment reference check include your candidate's former employers, former colleagues, former subordinates, and even former academic mentors. These are reliable sources regarding a healthcare worker's skills, strengths, work ethic, and areas for improvement, which are ultimately tell-tale signs that HR professionals in healthcare must pay attention to before onboarding.

1) Former Employers

Asking former employers for job applicant references is a crucial step in the hiring process for several reasons. Firstly, former employers possess firsthand knowledge about the candidate's work performance, attitude, and overall suitability for the role. By reaching out to these individuals, employers can gain valuable insights into an applicant's work ethic, ability to meet deadlines, level of professionalism, and interpersonal skills within a team setting.

Secondly, obtaining reference checks from previous healthcare employers helps verify the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided by the candidate during the interview stage. It allows employers to confirm details such as employment dates and positions held, shedding light on any potential resume discrepancies.

Furthermore, former employers often have access to additional feedback that goes beyond what may be shared on a resume or during an interview. This information could include specific project accomplishments or areas for improvement that would be useful in evaluating a candidate's fit for a particular role or company culture. Ultimately, seeking references from former employers adds another layer of confidence when making important hiring decisions.

2) Former Colleagues

Asking former colleagues for job applicant references is another essential step in the hiring process. Former colleagues have had firsthand experience working with the applicant, allowing them to provide valuable insights into their skills, work ethic, and overall performance. They can paint a comprehensive picture of the candidate's abilities and qualities that may not be evident from their resume or interview alone, or certain skills or characteristics that their higher-ups might not know of.

Since former colleagues are familiar with the dynamics of the workplace and industry, they can offer meaningful comparisons between the applicant and other healthcare employees who have held similar roles. This perspective is invaluable as it helps employers gauge how well the applicant would fit within their culture and contribute to its success. Ultimately, seeking references from former colleagues gives employers a more accurate assessment of a candidate's suitability for the position, helping them make more informed hiring decisions.

3) Former Subordinates

Aside from employers and colleagues, asking former subordinates for job applicant references can also provide valuable insights into a candidate's leadership, communication style, and overall work ethic. Former subordinates often have unique perspectives on a healthcare worker's performance as they have directly experienced their management skills. They can shed light on how the candidate handles challenging situations, motivates their team members, and fosters a positive environment in a healthcare setting.

Furthermore, subordinates may offer feedback on the candidate's ability to delegate tasks effectively, set clear expectations, and provide guidance and support when needed. Their input can also reveal any patterns of behaviour that might not be suitable for your team of healthcare workers.

4) Former Academic Mentors

Academic advisers have a unique perspective on their students, having interacted with them throughout their educational journey. They possess deep knowledge of the student's academic performance, work ethic, character, and personal qualities that may not be readily evident from employers colleagues and mentees.

Especially since they teach medicine, academic advisers often have connections in various industries and are well-versed in the demands and expectations of the healthcare job market, making them reliable judges of a candidate's suitability for specific roles. Drawing upon their professional expertise and keen understanding of someone's strengths and weaknesses, academic advisers can offer objective evaluations that go beyond surface-level impressions, which is an astute move that adds depth and credibility to the hiring process.

A list of who should a healthcare recruiter as to check the reference.

Caring Support: In-Depth Reference Checking Healthcare Employers Can Trust

Healthcare employment platforms have revolutionized the way organizations and companies conduct reference checking. Unlike traditional methods that require time-consuming phone calls and manual paperwork, these platforms enable employers to streamline and automate the entire process. By providing a centralized database of pre-verified references, it now becomes easier for employers to access and review candidate information accurately and efficiently. This eliminates the need for tedious back-and-forth communication with multiple referees.

Caring Support takes detailed profiles of job applicants seriously, as our way of helping employers through a thorough review of their work history, qualifications, and certifications. Employers can easily cross-reference applicant information with accurate and reliable references. Caring Support employs strict screening processes to ensure reference authenticity to avoid any potential risks involved in relying on unverified or biased references. Quality reference checking is now at your fingertips with Caring Support. Sign up for free today.

About The Author
Kate Piamonte
Content Writer

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