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Factors influencing the reliability of employment reference checking at Transnet National Port Authority.

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Employment Reference Checking is used at Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) to verify the accuracy of information provided by job applicants, such as work experience; knowledge; skill; behaviour, qualifications and criminal records. The reliability of information gathered during the employment reference verification is empirical to ensure TNPA employs competent and trustworthy candidates. The study intends to explore factors influencing the reliability of employment reference checking at TNPA in Durban. Recruiters at TNPA are of the opinion that the information obtained from employment reference checking might be unreliable. Therefore, this study will endeavour to explore and comprehend the extent of the hypothesis. Factors such as knowledge, skill, behaviour, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and Chapter 2 Section 14 (d) - Bill of Right underpin this study. The author’s own compilation construct is used as a foundation for this study and supported by the theory of negligence hiring adopted from the work of (Stoll & Bushway, 2008) This study will be of benefit to TNPA and other organisations that use employment reference verification, especially TNPA is striving to attract qualified and competent candidates who will contribute positively in order to deal with adverse economic challenges and cope in a global competitive environment. Reliable employment reference checking method is imperative for TNPA to select qualified and competent job applicants. The study will test the perception of whether there are factors influencing the reliability of employment reference checking or not. The study adopted a qualitative research approach and used semi-structured interviews. The study proposed a sample of up to eight participants and the study site was TNPA in Durban. The study found that factors such as the POPI Act; Ch. 2 S14 (d) - Bill of Right; using of third party to conduct reference checks; absence of reference checks questionnaire for each positions; conducting reference checks telephonically; refusal of referees to respond to reference checks request and acceptance of convenient referees other than previous immediate supervisors or managers, influence the reliability of employment reference checking. The extent of influence caused by these factors has a propensity to cause TNPA to employ applicants who do not meet job requirements and could have severe repercussions to the performance and productivity of TNPA. The study recommended a development of a vetting strategy for agencies conducting employment reference check for TNPA; to ensure agencies do what they are mandated to do in order to avoid making employment decisions based on unreliable information to avoid negligent hiring and the training of all recruitment officials to ensure a full understanding of all legislations influencing the recruitment process.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.