A reference checking service is an increasingly popular tool that is used by job seekers in gaining the upper hand in their search for employment. The theory in using such services is to gain as much control over the job application process as possible – and therefore increasing your chances of landing the job you want. It's not a hard thing to do either – and to help you out even further, here's 5 tips to keep in mind when choosing a reference checking service.

Tip 1: Choose a company that is professional

A general rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for, and it's no different in this case. A cheap check of your references may sound appealing, especially if you're not bringing in an income – but you may as well be paying your neighbor $10 to make a few phone calls and pretend to be your new boss asking about you because you just won't get the results you need. For a good idea of what your referees are saying about you, you need to engage a reference checking service that is professional, and has experience in what they do.

Tip 3: Make sure you know what questions they will be asking

The whole point of engaging the service in the first place is to have them ask some questions on your behalf from someone you have nominated as a referee, so its very important to know what they will be asking. Most reference checking services will provide you with the list of questions they ask as a standard before you choose to hire them in the first place. Some even provide you with a facility to add your own personalized questions that you want asked, and that can be a great idea too, depending on your line of work.

Tip 3: Make sure that you get a detailed report

A detailed report should be provided to you of the results of the checks that are conducted on your behalf. After all, they are asking your former employers about you, you're paying for that service, and you should know what the result is. A detailed report should include the date and time they contacted your former employer and the name and position of the person they spoke to. Any good reference checking service will include the answers to the questions they asked and an overall impression of the value of the former employer as a referee.

The employment application process can be a very stressful and competitive experience, and it makes sense to take advantage of every available opportunity to improve your chances. If you know what your references say about you, you've taken a significant step towards securing your job application when you hire a reference checking service. Remember that your employers will be doing their own checks, why not take the opportunity to be know exactly what they are being told about you.