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0106- Reference Checks

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  1. Once the Selection Committee chooses a likely appointee through the assignment and/or interview process, references are checked to validate, clarify or add to information that has already been gathered.



  1. Hiring Manager generally refers to the Supervisor of the position being filled.
  2. Human Resource Representative means those employees of the Department of Finance designated to co-ordinate the recruitment process.
  3. Selection Committee includes, but is not necessarily restricted to, a Human Resource Representative and the Supervisor of the position being filled.  Where appropriate, a member with technical expertise or community representative may be added to the Selection Committee, either as a full participant or in an advisory capacity with no vote in the final hiring decision.
  4. Personnel File is the official record containing job-related documents of each employee, held by the Department of Finance.
  5. Reference is a person to whom one refers for testimony as to one’s knowledge, skills, abilities, etc..



  1. The Human Resource Representative or Hiring Manager shall conduct the reference checks.  Additional members of the Selection Committee may also participate, particularly if some of the information is very technical in nature.  
  2. Candidates shall provide permission to the Human Resource Representative to contact supervisory references, one of which shall be the candidate’s current or most recent direct supervisor.  The Human Resource Representative may use a Reference Check Authorization Form to obtain written authorization to contact each reference.
  3. Candidates who do not grant permission to contact their current or most recent direct supervisor(s) are deemed to have withdrawn from the competition.
  4. Other reference types, such as clients, may be considered if the candidate is self-employed or a former direct supervisor has not had contact with the candidate in many years and is not able to verify the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities as they relate to the position being staffed.
  5. A supervisory reference’s superior may be permitted as a reference only if that individual is familiar with the candidate’s knowledge, skills and ability.
  6. Selection Committee members may be used as a reference if they are a current or recent direct supervisor of the candidate.
  7. References are generally checked starting with the most recent.  The exception to this would be when the candidate asks that the current supervisor be the final person contacted.
  8. Details of reference checks shall be kept strictly confidential.
  9. References shall be asked questions regarding the candidates knowledge, skills and abilities, that are relevant to the position, as demonstrated through the candidate’s actions or behaviours during previous work-related activities.
  10. The Human Resource Representative may ask the proposed appointee to provide additional references if concerns are identified during the initial checks or if previous positions relate to the target position.
  11. The Human Resource Representative may review the personnel file of a candidate who is a current or former GNWT employee if an issue is raised during the reference check.  Performance appraisals should only be used to support information gathered from other sources, such as reference checking, and should not be the only source of information about past work performance.
  12. If at any time during the competition, the Human Resource Representative determines that a candidate intentionally misrepresents any part of their qualifications or work experience, they are immediately eliminated from the competition.
  13. Reference check results, where the previous position applied on is similar in nature to the current position, will stand for a period of six months. Where an applicant is known to have applied on a similar position within the previous six months, reference checks completed for the old competition may be opened and reviewed by the current selection committee and applied to determine suitability for the current competition.


Authorities and References

Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms


Public Service Act

Section 19.(1). Qualifications