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‘Nothing but positive references,’ What can employers ask during hiring?

Posted at 11:53 PM, Aug 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-28 02:57:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- One day after Vester Flanagan guns down two of his former coworkers on live television, the hiring process of the former reporter comes into question.

"By and large, we get great employees here, one is going to slip through the cracks,” said Jeff Marks, General Mgr., WDBJ

Marks said Flanagan's references came back positive, and management screens its employees thoroughly.

"It's very hard to get a negative reference these days.  Most companies have policies to forbid their people from giving references.  And so, what you get a lot of is name, rank and serial number,” said Marks.

Jeff Marks, General Mgr., WDBJ

Jeff Marks, General Mgr., WDBJ

In 2013, Flanagan was fired from the Roanoke station for poor performance and a series of conflicts with employees.

And Flanagan reportedly had similar problems at his previous stations.

"Many employers are going to share very little because if they share something negative they could be held liable for something that could turn out to be one manager's opinion or not job relevant,” said Andrew Klein, Psychologist, H.R. consultant, Titan Group.

Andrew Klein, Psychologist, H.R. consultant, Titan Group.

Andrew Klein, Psychologist, H.R. consultant, Titan Group.

Klein said employers should validate resumes, conduct criminal background checks, and even test a potential employee’s personality to see if they are a good fit.

"You can use psychological testing. You can do in basket testing. You can do what are called assessment centers, where you can do a simulation. A life like simulation,” said Klein.  "Is this person going to play nice with others, going to be social, has a sense of team."

Klein said requiring potential employees to go through a probationary period will determine if they can do the job or work well with others.

And if you notice that the employee has embellished their resume, that should be a red flag.