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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

Telephone Reference Check

One More Time

Reference checking doesn't always stop when someone is hired.

Finally, you've made your selection and the employee has been working for you for a month. That's the end of reference checking or is it?

The employee's work has been good, but during the month he's been absent four times and late five times. You consider that a problem, but you hope it's just a matter of unusual circumstances and is not likely to occur with any frequency in the future. But, if this does foreshadow a pattern of things to come, you'd like to know about it now.

Call a few of the same people you talked to in your first round of checking on the employee and confront them with the problem. Start the conversation this way: "Remember me? I'm Jane Doe. I called you over six weeks ago in connection with a reference for Richard Park, and we hired him. Everything is fine, but during the last four weeks he's been absent four times and late five times. Did you encounter that sort of problem when he worked for your firm?"

Confronted with a specific complaint about your new employee, you're likely to prove to yourself whether it's a pattern, or just an unusual occurrence. It's certainly to your advantage to find out those facts early on in the employment relationship. If there was a pattern, have a frank talk with the employee, letting him know that some of his references have told you they had the same problem in the past, and that you will not tolerate a continuance of this behavior. If that doesn't work, you may be forced to terminate his employment.