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Reviewing This Week on Make HR Happen – Stories about Refs

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Proof that any topic can be seen from multiple perspectives, the subject of reference checking is almost a non-issue from most points of view. Many companies have replaced the obligatory personal reference check with bland outsourced background checks or mindless impersonal checkboxes. People clamor for online recognition while admitting that quid pro quo recommendations on LinkedIn and push-button endorsements don’t mean very much. Before we discard the entire concept of references, it is important to analyze the values added to our decisions and figure out how to salvage that which is of value. Background checks are misunderstood and many people are not even aware of the results of a pre-hire investigation… or their rights. Accepting that there is value under certain circumstances, we need to understand how to conduct reference checks properly to ferret out the juicy stuff. Reference checks are also an old recruiter ploy to cast a wider net for qualified candidates. Both candidates and their references need to understand the rules of engagement or both lose in the process.

Image credit: yobro10 / 123RF Stock Photo

KeyholeSearchFeb 4 - Your Background Check Is Completed – What Does It Say? – There is a lot of hype about personal branding and what it can do for your career. There seems to be a prevailing belief that marketing hyperbole can right all wrongs, polish all rough edges, and hide embarrassing events. After all, this technique is the accepted method for selling cars, deodorant, toilet paper and politicians. With billions of dollars invested in such promotions it should be good for hawking personal characteristics to employers, right?  – more –


SkeletonReferenceFeb 5 - Candidates and Hidden Skeletons in the Closet – In corporate hiring, spending time on a reference check is considered to be old school these days. At least that is the excuse usually used to skip this step in the hiring process. The process is often cumbersome, time consuming, and the results usually jaded. Larger companies hire third party investigators to do the dirty work because it is faster and less costly. Small companies find themselves mired in complex bureaucratic hiring processes and muddle through or just skip it altogether.  – more –


Feb 6 - Sourcing with Reference Checks - Sourcers already know this. There is a headhunter tactic that is seldom used by corporate recruiters or human resources generalists. In fact, with technology and outsourcing around to replace traditional reference checking there is a lost opportunity to engage with a pool of passive candidates for hire: the candidate’s references. Recruiters operate on the theory that every phone call is a potential source of a candidate unless it is a busy signal.  – more –


Feb 7 – Why and How to Create a Reference List – All active job seekers should already know that they will eventually have to provide a list of references before being hired. This is not new news, but the majority of applicants show up for the interview totally clueless about how to fill out any form that has blank spaces for references. If there is any other sign that the candidate is not taking this seriously it would be forgetting to show up for the interview. There are rumors, mostly true, that many companies don’t bother to check references anymore. To use that as an excuse to be unprepared is not a smart move.  – more –


Feb 8 - Giving Good Reference - It is an uncomfortable moment of truth. Someone you know has asked to use your name as a reference for employment. If this is someone that has earned your endorsement, it is still not an easy thing to do. If this is someone that you don’t know well enough to recommend it is not easy to say no. In spite of the temptation to always say yes and then offer lukewarm support, this does nothing to help anyone including you. There is no halfway point in being a reference… either you do it or you do not. – more –