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Chapter 22. Making the Hiring Decision > Checking Applicant's Background - Pg. 290

Making the Hiring Decision 290 Compiling Opinions Heads Up! When the entire team participates in choosing a candidate, it's quite likely some members may strongly oppose hiring a prospect that the majority votes to accept. Hiring such a person may cause friction in the team, and it may be best to look further. Before a decision is made, the team should meet and discuss their reactions to the prospect. In some companies, members must complete an interview summary sheet in which they note the information they developed in their interviews. Here's where inconsistencies are uncovered, infor- mation missed by the team leader brought up, and other data unfolded. Each member then lists what he or she views as the strengths and weaknesses of the prospect. From this information, the team can assess the contributions the prospect can bring to the team and in what areas he or she may need help to become fully productive. Comments by members are evaluated by the team leader, who must make the final judgment. In some teams, the decision is made by consensus. Checking Applicant's Background Applicants can tell you anything they want about their experiences. How do you know whether they're telling the truth? A reference check is one of the oldest approaches to verifying a background, but is it reliable? Former employers unfortunately don't always tell the whole truth about candidates. They may be reluctant to make negative statements, either because they don't want to prevent the person from working--as long it's not for them--or they fear that they might be sued. Still, a reference check is virtually your only source of verification. Sending a Letter or E-mail Request One way to obtain information is to write a letter or send an e-mail to the former employer. Very often these letters are routine forms asking simply whether the applicant worked there, the job held, dates of employment, and general statements concerning quality of work. Some HR people send more detailed forms asking a variety of specific questions about perform- ance, personality, and other pertinent data. To make these forms effective, they must be carefully designed and should cover all the things one wants to know.