Candidate Reference Check in China

   Posted by: TZ   in HR General

Great discussion going on over at the Linkedin “China HR Network” group on whether it is worth to use a vetting (reference checking) company for new hire. Click here to joint the discussion and click here to join the group.

This discussion is raised by Mario and already has about 30 comments.

I’ve also briefly touched this subject before and would like to see more input from other HR professionals.

Some deep points are listed below:

@MK Liew,
1. This is relied on the experienced vetting company. Some survey tells that about 66% job applicants make some “modification” to their CVs, in which 48% are for their working experience part. For marketing related postions, it is qiute normal occassions that candidates “doctor” their background.
2. A professional vetting company ensures the quality of their report by certain methodolgy and reliable sources.
3. sometimes, it is good that the interviewers themselves do the vetting which ensures the consistancy for the whole information alignment.
4. normally the check is done via the subjects’ previous companies’ HR, line managers. More than 2 former employers are required for check to keep consistency. Emails and direct call to the HR and former line managers are common ways to do so. Mobile phone is not recommanded for dosing so.
5. so far we do not conduct after check, this is quite trouble causing..
Criminal Records is a very useful piece of information on which to make a hiring decision. Normally, we would suggest that as best-practice, a Criminal Record should not automatically disqualify an applicant for a position, and that instead, the nature of the criminal record, and the position they are applying for be taken into account.
In jurisdictions where it is not compliant to attain criminal record information for employment screening purposes, the above mentioned checks can provide a level of risk mitigation as well as providing useful information about the candidate’s employment history.
Standard verification details (dates, position, reason for leaving) are useful to ensure the CV on which you are basing the hiring decision is accurate. Often we are also able to attain additional useful information on performance. Though some MNCs have policies preventing employees from providing such a reference, these policies are not in place across the board, and from our experience I suspect even where there is such an official policy, it is not always understood and followed by the majority of line managers.
Just an observation here ..
I have worked in MNCs which do not allow “performance” to be disclose .. as such, while with this MNC, I would “walk the talk” and not ask for such “reference” of the candidates from their past employers
Then, besides verifying the periods of employment, what value does this checking adds to the process?
MK – in terms of employment, presuming no line manager referencing is available, there are still benefits is verifying:
Dates of employment:
Verifies the candidate has the length of experience they claim to have had. If there are no gaps in employment, this is a good indicator that the candidate has not been in prison. If there are gaps, it is important to determine why this is.
Again verifies the experience the candidate claims to have had. An easy way to enhancer the CV is a slight change in title: Assistant General Manager vs. Assistant to the General Manager
Reason for leaving:
Verify the candidate’s reason for leaving is as stated. Common reasons include Resignation / Retrenchment / Termination. The latter is obviously an area for concern that may need to be clarified.
Outside of employment, Education checks can ensure appropriate qualifications/training, and Media searches can sometimes bring up adverse performance / criminality details. Directorship/Legal Rep searches can search for potential conflicts of interest.
Outside of China (e.g. Singapore) other searches such as Civil Litigation / Credit/Bankruptcy information can also be useful indicators of an employee’s trustworthiness.
As an observer of this post, and not an expert in vetting, I can only add that it is common for MNCs in Australia (and therefore I assume the Canada, UK, and US) to do reference checks through a third party. My experience in China is that vetting experts are desperately needed. Many of the executive search companies here that I have interviewed for our magazine (Network HR) tell of horror stories where the person employed was clearly not the same person who was presented on paper. This is a costly affair, especially because these executive search companies guarantee the candidate for the first 3 months, and must replace them at no cost if they are unsuitable.

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This entry was posted on 星期三, 四月 28th, 2010 at 2:59 上午 and is filed under HR General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.