Jenifer - I'd say yes! We absolutely recommend doing reference checks. I don't recommend contacting HR though (I say that quietly as an HR practitioner). When we do reference checks, we ask many behavior based questions on key issues. For example, if you need to know how they'll handle conflict situations, ask "tell me about a time when this individual had to deal with a conflict and how did it go?" And, pay attention not just to the answer but the non-verbals.
Whether it is full-time or part-time or exempt or non-exempt, we'd highly recommend you do them for both.
If you'd like to talk further, just reach out to me (Robin@strategicHRinc.com)Reply