Check Reference-Checking Firms Before You Hire <I>Them</I> Make sure the firm you choose is doing its job of checking potential hires.

Do professional reference checkers tell you all you need to knowabout prospective employees? Before retaining an outside firm, dosome checking of your own, says Peter LeVine, president of PeterLeVine Associates Inc., a professional reference-checking firmbased in Framingham, Massachusetts. LeVine offers these tips forevaluating reference-checking firms:

Ask for and check references. Just because it checks upon people doesn't mean the company is on the up and up.

Ask what sets the firm apart from its competitors.

Find out how it gets information. Does it simply checkdatabases, credit files, court records and drivers' licensefiles? Or does it also conduct personal interviews?

Ask who does the research and what their experience andbackground are. Is the work done by a clerk or aninvestigator?

Will you receive full transcripts of interviews or asummary? Although full transcripts take more time to evaluate,LeVine believes they provide a better foundation on which to makeyour hiring decision.

Is the company up to date on employment issues? Be surethe checker incorporates topical issues in employmentlaw-such as sexual harassment, disabilities and workplaceviolence-in its research.

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