The job interview will be a primary source of information about applicants. However, it may not be the best source for some information. A job reference may be the most effective way to learn about dependability, follow through, and ability to get along with coworkers.
VCU requires a minimum of two reference checks for candidates before an offer can be made. (If two references are unable to be obtained after repeated attempts, please consult with HR about how to proceed.) One of the references must be from a candidate’s current/most recent supervisor. Other references may come from a former employer/supervisor, a colleague, a former professor, etc. All applications for employment include authorization from the applicant to contact current and prior employers. However, it is important to respect confidentiality, and candidates should be notified before references are contacted. If a finalist is reluctant to provide a current supervisor as a reference, it is recommended that the hiring manager consult with HR to determine the best approach. It may be possible to obtain a reference from another leader within the organization. Or, in situations when candidates are wary of informing their supervisors that they are pursuing other employment opportunities, an offer may be made with a final supervisory reference a condition of employment. (When the hiring manager for a position is the top candidate's current VCU supervisor, this may be noted in the hiring proposal; a formal reference from the hiring manager/current supervisor is not required.)
Former employees who have been terminated for cause by VCU are not eligible for rehire at VCU. Applicants excluded by this provision may request their status be reviewed if, after a minimum of five years, they can present evidence to the chief human resources officer that the behavior or competency deficiencies that led to their dismissal have been corrected. The online recruitment system should automatically reroute ineligible applicants to an inactive status.
The hiring department must confirm using primary source verification that any licenses, certifications or degrees set forth in the position requirements or that are required to perform the essential duties of the position being filled are currently held by the applicant.
If the selected candidate is currently employed by VCU, a reference from the candidate’s VCU supervisor is required. Hiring managers may also contact HR to obtain information regarding the employee’s past performance and conduct. In order to review this information, it must be requested; it is not provided automatically.
Always check references of your top candidate(s) regardless of your impressions of their qualifications. A mistake is costly in time, energy, and money; take the time to check references before making a job offer.
Reference checks can reveal information about an applicant's behavior with prior employers that could be critical to your decision, regardless of the applicant's skills, knowledge, and abilities. Failure to check references can have serious legal consequences for the university.
Use the following guidelines when you are conducting all telephone reference checks, whether the candidate is a campus employee or an outside applicant:
Optional questions to ask of managers or executives