Survey Shows CFOs Prefer Verifying at Least Three References Before Making an Offer

MENLO PARK, CA -- How many references are enough when qualifying an applicant for a job? In a recent survey, financial executives said that, on average, they like to check a minimum of three references before extending an employment offer for a senior-level position.
The survey was developed by RHI Management Resources, North America's largest firm placing senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 chief financial officers (CFOs) from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, "How many reference checks do you think are sufficient before you feel comfortable extending an offer for an executive-level position?" The mean response was three.

"Even in today's competitive employment market, businesses rarely rely on resumes and interviews alone when evaluating job candidates, particularly for senior-level posts," said Paul McDonald, executive director of RHI Management Resources. "Hiring mistakes are costly -- in terms of training and recruiting expenses as well as lost productivity. But perhaps more significant is the toll a poor staffing decision can take on employee morale."

McDonald advises managers to view reference checks as a way of verifying information and impressions gathered from the interview. "Contacting references should be one of the last steps in the hiring process once you've identified a strong candidate." For management positions, McDonald recommends speaking with the prospective employee's past supervisors -- as well as individuals the applicant may have overseen -- for their viewpoint on his or her leadership abilities.

RHI Management Resources has locations in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at www.rhimr.com.

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