Before calling references, ask the applicant, “What am I likely to hear when I contact these people?” The answers may surprise you.
By encouraging job candidates to predict what their references will say about them, you get a window into their self-perception. That alone can help you evaluate whether they’ll make a good fit in your organization.
Example: If an applicant insists that all his references will give glowing reviews—and spends 10 minutes regaling you with his triumphs—you’ll know you’ve got a braggart on your hands.
This approach pays off in other ways. If references feed you the company line (“Company policy forbids me to give you any information except …”), you can thank them, hang up, call them back during off hours and leave the following voice mail: “Bill’s applying for a job here, and he told me you would rate him an A+ superstar. If that’s true, please call me back.”
Here are other ways to gain insights about applicants without relying on closed-mouth references:
Listen for adjectives. When you ask candidates to describe those giving the references, note how they characterize their former colleagues.
With a bit of gentle prodding from you, they may judge their past co-workers harshly with words such as “unfair” or “weak” rather than describing specific behaviors and letting you draw your own conclusions. Beware of candidates who complain.
Compare references. Have the candidate imagine what some former bosses would say about his performance. It’s revealing to see how individuals think they were perceived.
Example: An interviewee tells you, “I got along a lot better with my last boss than the one before.” Follow up and ask, “How would their references vary?”
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/6618/before-i-check-your-references "
- Watching the detectives: A cautionary tale on employee privacy
- Creative job titles can reap big recruiting ROI
- Need legal info on the ins and outs of hiring temps?
- Beat discrimination lawsuits by nailing down specific rationale for employment decisions
- Interns aren't just free labor: How to comply with the FLSA