Reference Checking - I missed Monday's chat!

Sorry I missed Monday’s chat regarding references. My computer was on but I was nowhere around!

I love doing the reference checking on candidates. Some just because of who their references are. Others because I want the straight scoop - I don't trust what candidates are telling me.

One weird reference I got was for a woman that was well respected in her field and I asked my routine questions regarding her work ethic, work style, ability to work within a team environment etc. and his words were very positive. I had taped the conversation - first asking him if he minded and he agreed to it - and when you listened to the tape it sounded like he hated the woman! Seriously hated her. I had to go through three more references to find out what the story was. As it turned out he was the managing partner of an all male consulting firm and she was the first woman ever hired and also the first woman asked to become a partner - she turned them down and shortly after gave notice. He took it as a personal front (how dare she turn me down!!) and never forgave her. My client was very happy with her and she fit in with his male/female team quite well.

I also use references as a way into a company for work or to find out more info about a company. I was once told that you are as good as the questions you ask. I have some great reference questions for special times that I can use if I want some business from the company down the road. When the President, CFO, or CAO of a company is on the reference list - I call and use my big girl questions and get to know all about what the senior management thought about the candidate's assets to the company. Also why they were let go or why they let them leave. How did they fit into the org chart? I love that one because sometimes I get the whole org chart for that area!

Good questions show that you care about your clients so use some great business related ones - not just does he/she get along with her workmates? Or does he/she get their work done on time? Ask how they helped the bottom line if it makes sense or how did they help shortened the monthly close. BUSINESS RELATED QUESTIONS.

Views: 131

Comment by Tim Spagnola on November 8, 2011 at 8:51am

Thanks Cora! We missed you as well. Your interest in the topic could have been used since most appear to not like this part of the process. That is also an interesting story you shared with regards to that particular reference. Nice example of going beyond the negative for real story and making a good fit.

Comment by Steven G. Davis on November 8, 2011 at 1:54pm


You are spot ON..Many folks pu-pu it when I say that I always do referance checks. "So you ask what are their strengths and weaknesses, big whoop what does that say?" I go way beyond that. I actually have a client whom I have been doing Direct Placements for over the last 4 yrs and back in June  the Principal calld me to dinner and proposed that I (our company) become a greater part of their hiring process. They send me all candidates being offered positions and I perform all the reference checks for them. Since starting in July, I have actually recommended at least 2 candidates not tobe  hired and I have found two candidates for hire that they are going pay me for and I didn't have to do anything more than make a phone, based on my initial phone/reference check with that person!  This program to date has resulted in a 10k boost to our bottomline!

 Reference checks are totally worth the time if you ask the right questions. Those "right" questions need to be modified based on what the candidate tells you, but also what the client is looking for. Moreover they are even better to gain insight within the company but also to add new contacts to your database for future use. Thank you for confirming what I already do. It is nice to see I have someone else in my camp!!!



Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on November 8, 2011 at 4:54pm

Thanks, Tim and Steve for your comments!

Steve, I rarely tell people about how much I love reference checking because I gain so much more than a reference check - a new client, a new contact and sometimes a new candidate.  Going beyond the basics is where it is at.  When you introduce business related questions and very in-depth questions companies start thinking 'wow, they get this much information before placing a candidate; why doesn't our recruiting firm do that?"


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