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Don’t be fooled by fake references when hiring domestic staff

Most employers understand the importance of speaking to references as they hire domestic staff, but should they also check their validity? In a 2012 CareerBuilder.com survey, nearly one-third of employers said that they caught a fake reference on an application. Taking the extra step of verifying a reference and asking the right questions may save you significant frustration in the future. 

Why make up a reference?

Applicants who have spotty work histories or did not leave jobs on a positive note may feel that they have no one to vouch for them. 

Who are you talking to?

The most common fake references are friends or relatives who are posing as a previous employer, but there is also an entire industry dedicated to creating fake work histories. According to CNN, some of these businesses will make up fake identities for employers along with email addresses and phone numbers to speak on behalf of an applicant. To many hiring professionals and staffing agencies, these companies are engaging in blatantly unethical behavior. 

"It's like using a professional photographer, who helps you look your best, versus using someone else's photo," said career counselor David Wright to CNN. "One is enhancing your appearance, while the other is blatant misrepresentation."

How to find the fakes

You should first make sure that the applicant's work history on his or her resume matches what the reference says. During your call with the reference, ask questions that require detailed responses like his or her daily responsibilities and how well they were performed. If you are suspicious, you may want to research the owner of the phone number. It is also acceptable to ask your candidate for another person to contact. 

At Colonial Domestic Agency, we take the hassle out of the hiring process by doing extensive background checks on all of our applicants. Contact us today to learn how we can meet all of your staffing needs.