Human Resources News & Insights

Should managers do reference checks?

Reference checks are a key part of the hiring process. But who’s the right person to conduct them?

On one hand, there are some tricky legal waters to tread, so some experts say it’s best left to HR.

But on the other hand, some say references give more information when they’re talking to a peer (another manager) than to someone in HR. Also, they say, HR can train managers on how to avoid legal problems.

Who checks the references at your company? Do you think managers or HR should be in charge?

Let us know by leaving us a comment.

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  • Dara

    We require the managers to do their own reference checks. Many times a response will require a follow up question but only the manager (or someone who knows the job well) will know what that question should be and how much importance to put on the answer. If HR does the reference checks, you’ll get generic questions and generic answers. In addition, the hiring manager takes ownership of the hiring decision.

  • Terri Frame

    I think HR should be the one who does the reference checks. Once a potential candidate is in the process for hiring, then the manager can ask the necessary questions for the job.

  • Angela

    Human Resources conducts criminal records checks and verifies education and other credentials, but we require the hiring supervisor to conduct reference checks. They are in the position to know the most about the job, so would be better able to determine the person’s ability to do the job. We also provide interviewing and selection training in which we caution our supervisors that they cannot ask about or consider any information gained from the reference check that they would not legally be able to consider from the interview itself.

  • Kim

    HR does all the reference checks for my company. With my employer, HR is relied upon to do 95% of the work in the hiring process because HR doesn’t seem to trust managers to handle interviews, reference checks, etc. I don’t necessarily agree with this philiosophy, but I’m new here and I have no choice but to comply.

  • Human Resources Department shoud conduct all the reference checks for the company in order to avoid legal issues. I consider it is very important to verify education, conduct criminal records checks, drug tests and contact the previous employeers. In my organization HR department does all the reference checks. In my personal opinion, HR department has to trust managers allowing them to ask 85% of the questions during the interviews but HR department has to be the responsible department to do all the reference checks because the department is neutral.

    Martha Ayerdis, MBA
    Human Resources Director

  • rusty

    HR should do the Reference Checks, BUT, only if the person doing it is Qualified!!! This is important that a rookie does NOT get involved with this important task. Normally Department Managers
    do it in our company.