I, like Lynn have also hired many employees and I agree totally about checking references. This is a must!
Another thing you can do is to have a list of questions prepared for your position. Ask behavioral questions such as "What would you do in this situation?" and describe a typical situation on the job. Choose situations that would gauge how reliable they might be.
Also you can ask questions about attendance in prior jobs. They might think it`s acceptable to call in sick 3 times a month, but you don`t. A question I`ve used before is that you have an assignment due and you don`t think you`re going to get it done, and you can`t reach your boss. What do you do? This shows how quick they can think and how resourceful they might be.
You should also look very closely at their job history for "job hopping" and gaps in employment. These can be very enlightening. Hope these are helpful.