Use a referee check to verify the information the applicant provided during the recruitment process. You can include the referee’s general comments in your selection report.
You can conduct a referee check at any time during the recruitment process for any number of applicants. See Select a recruitment approach (assessments).
You must conduct a referee check for an applicant before you recommend them for appointment or include them on an order of merit.
Number of referees
You may choose to speak with multiple referees. At least 1 referee (unless there are extenuating circumstances) must have thorough knowledge of the applicant’s work behaviour, conduct, and performance during the last 2 years.
You can ask an applicant to provide additional referees if you think they might be better positioned to answer some of your questions or verify your information.
If the applicant is a current or previous government employee, ask them to nominate a referee who can report on their work while in government. Government supervisors and managers must provide an honest account of an applicant’s performance and workplace conduct. See the Recruitment and selection directive.
Speaking to a referee
Use a structured approach rather than a casual conversation. Document the conversation and send it to the referee to verify once complete.
Ask the referee to:
- describe their experience working with the applicant
- explain the applicant’s role and their effectiveness in the role
- describe the applicant’s strengths and areas for development
- provide behavioural examples of the applicant's effectiveness in the key attributes (selection criteria)
- confirm any required or specified qualifications and training
- explain why they think the applicant left or wants to leave.
Use follow-up questions to test and clarify the information.
If you receive negative information about an applicant, consider the source and check its accuracy with other sources.
If you’re not going to proceed because of the negative report, you must tell the applicant and give them a chance to respond before making the final decision.