SOURCE: Accounting Management Solutions

December 06, 2006 09:00 ET

Getting Reference Checks Right Pays Off, According to Accounting Management Solutions

WALTHAM, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 6, 2006 -- With many employers looking to hire before the new year, one of the last steps in the process is checking references. Doing it well can uncover superior candidates thought to be unviable, while handling it poorly can lead to a bad hire, according to Accounting Management Solutions, Inc. (AMS), New England’s leading provider of outsourced accounting, financial management, and recruiting services.

"There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to checking references," says James R. Cote, Director of Recruiting Services for AMS. "What people may think is a bad reference can turn out differently. It's a matter of knowing what you're looking for."

Good reference checking means speaking with former supervisor, peers, and direct subordinates of a job candidate, he advises. If the candidate's former boss gives what appears to be a negative reference, further investigation not uncommonly reveals a poor fit between the candidate and his or her former manager.


What's most important for hiring managers to understand, according to Cote, is there is no such thing as a perfect candidate.

"Companies need to know that no reference will come back perfect. If it does, it means a thorough job wasn't done," he says. "Everyone has good and bad points. We want to identify the shortfalls so the employer knows what to expect."

Assuming that the candidate has the relevant skills and interest in the position he or she is pursuing, the most critical factor for a successful hire is understanding the candidate's fit with the employer's mission.

"When we check references, we want to know how the candidate fit in with his last job, what his accomplishments were, what he made happen, what type of positive impact he had on revenues. That's what the next employer needs to know to make a hiring decision," says Cote.

Cote advises that employers do the following to make the reference checking process go smoothly:

--  Start checking references after conducting a first round of interviews
    once you feel there is a good fit between the candidate and key managers.
--  Tell your recruiter about the last person in the job and why he or she
    left. Identify key success factors so your recruiter can explore them in
    detail with references.
--  Request up to three references. Asking for half a dozen or more won't
    yield more significant information, but will take additional time, which
    means risking losing good candidates to other employers.

Accounting Management Solutions, Inc. (, based in Waltham, Mass., is the leading provider of outsourced accounting, financial management, and recruiting services to emerging companies and public, private, and nonprofit organizations throughout New England. Services include interim and part-time accounting and financial management professionals, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance support, and financial consulting.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Peter Lowy
    Business Communication Strategies
    Tel: 781-326-9980