Use a referee check to verify the information the candidate 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 candidates. See Select a recruitment approach (assessments).
You must conduct a referee check for a candidate 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 candidate’s work behaviour, conduct, and performance during the last 2 years.
You can ask a candidate to provide additional referees if you think they might be better positioned to answer some of your questions or verify your information.
If the candidate 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 a candidate’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 candidate
- explain the candidate’s role and their effectiveness in the role
- describe the candidate’s strengths and areas for development.
- provide behavioural examples of the candidate's effectiveness in the key attributes (selection criteria)
- confirm any required or specified qualifications and training
- explain why they think the candidate left or wants to leave.
Use follow-up questions to test and clarify the information.
If you receive negative information about a candidate, 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 candidate and give them a chance to respond before making the final decision.