Many HR and recruitment professionals believe traditional character references to be inaccurate, according to a study carried out by NOP for the Association of Search and Selection Consultants.
Despite this, the study found that 71 per cent still use character references when recruiting for a senior position and do nothing to compensate for their inaccuracy.
Conducted among players in the recruitment and employment industry, the survey shows that HR professionals give referencing only a six on an accuracy scale of one to 10.
They also expect references for top-level positions to be more accurate, although they do not use a different method of obtaining references for this category of candidate.
Results also reveal a difference of opinion between HR professionals and recruitment consultants. Recruiters have more faith in a reference sourced through a recruitment consultant who is trained in questioning.
Despite the flaws in character references, they are still used when making senior appointments.
Greater value appears to be placed on references when recruiting for top management positions - 65 per cent of recruiters value references at this level while only 56 per cent value references for the appointment of more junior grades.