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Principles & Policies for Managing Human Resources

2.3.4.  Reference Check


POLICY STATEMENT

A reference check is a personal investigation, conducted before appointment to verify the assessed merits of the qualified candidate, to further assess past performance, and to verify their reliability and suitability for appointment.

 

RATIONALE

In competitive processes, reference checks are conducted on either the highest ranked candidate or on several highly qualified candidates as a way of balancing information obtained through other methods of assessment.

While reference checks are not a requirement for direct appointments, there may be circumstances where reference checks may be appropriate to mitigate potential risks associated with candidates whose qualifications and past work performance are unknown.

 

PRACTICES

Reference checks are usually conducted after all other assessments but before appointing the candidate. They are used to validate the assessment of the candidate(s) against each selection criteria. Normally a minimum of two references are conducted per candidate.

Reference checks are normally conducted by the selection board chair. However, where appropriate, an alternate selection board member may conduct reference checks. The selection board member conducting the reference checks must document and sign the reference check template and notes. The chair of the selection board is responsible for ensuring that reference checks are conducted fairly and consistently in a manner that meets legislated and policy requirements. The reference checks must be verified by the selection board chair prior to an offer being made.

Procedural requirements for conducting reference checks

To ensure reference information is valid, the following requirements must be met.

Applicants provide written consent before references are checked. This consent allows for the contacting of references provided by the candidate and obtaining any other information from any available source pertaining to the candidate’s suitability for employment. Candidates’ written consent can be obtained by signing the Employment Related Reference Consent Form.

Obtaining written consent from Manitoba government employees is recommended before conducting references within the Manitoba government.  Accessing additional internal information relating to the candidate’s suitability for appointment must be done reasonably, with the rationale clearly documented. 

All candidates are notified immediately before conducting reference checks with their current employer/supervisor. Normally, a reference check is conducted with the current employer/supervisor only when there is a reasonable probability that an offer of employment will be made. This notification provides candidates with the opportunity to identify any concerns they may have, at which point further discussion may be required.

Acceptable references are individuals that have direct experience with the candidate’s work, preferably as direct supervisors.

Questions being asked of the reference must relate either directly to the selection criteria, or to the candidate’s general suitability (for example, the reason for separation, or whether the reference would re-hire the candidate).

Reference information collected must be objective and supported by specific examples or performance documentation.

The selection board must review the results of the reference checks combined with the information derived from the other assessment methods to come to a final selection decision.

It is not normally sufficient to no longer consider a candidate based on one reference check response. If more than one reference provides similar feedback that raises a concern about the selection board assessment, the selection board should be reconvened to reassess. Additional references can be requested of a candidate if required.

Where a candidate is no longer being considered based on reference information, they must be advised that reference checks were conducted as part of determining their qualifications and that The Personal Investigations Act provides rights to reference information under section 7 of the Act.

Where reference information is limited or not able to be obtained, the selection board must conduct a risk assessment before reaching a final selection decision.

 

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Civil Service Commission
    • Monitor application of the policy through the staffing audit process.
  • Selection Board Chair
    • Ensure application of the policy in the staffing process.
    • Undertake reference checks.
    •   Document the reference results into the board report.
    • Ensure that reference checks are conducted fairly and consistently in a manner that meets legislated and policy requirements.  
  • Selection Board Member
    • If an alternate selection board member is delegated to undertake the reference checks, the following is required:
      • Document and sign the reference check questions and notes.
      • Conduct reference checks fairly and consistently in a manner that meets legislated and policy requirements.

 

AUTHORITY

The Civil Service Act, Section 13(4)
The Personal Investigations Act
The Freedom of Information & Protection Act
Civil Service Commission Minute #8-15/16-5  

 

Owner:

Civil Service Commission

Additional information:

Civil Service Commission
Phone: 204-945-2332
TDD/TTY: 204-945-1437
Email: csc@gov.mb.ca

 

Effective date: June 11, 2015

 


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