Pre-Qualify Your References!

I cannot add anything to this blog by Brad Remillard.

Know Your References Well

We often do one-on-one job search coaching with candidates. This is a three month program where we cover all aspects of a person’s search, and work weekly to ensure that everything is being done to expedite their search. We cover issues that might arise before they arise, discuss areas of conflict, develop a marketing plan, perform interviews, review resumes and tough interview questions, compensation negotiations and check references. It is very comprehensive, and often hidden issues that would keep the candidate from getting an interview or job are discovered and addressed before they become an issue. Too often the candidate never finds out why they didn’t get an interview or offer, when a little up front work would have solved the problem before it became a problem.

As part of this coaching, the candidate develops a complete set of references. The candidate always assures us that the reference has told them “They would give me a good reference.” A CEO I was working with had a board member as one of their references. I called to talk with this reference and make sure that all was well. It didn’t take long to realize that the reference, although not bad, was only average to barely passing. This is not something the candidate would want a company to hear. We went back to candidate and asked to talk to the other board members (at least two). They both had great things to say, and in fact, one was going to recommend the candidate for another position. It turned out the first person had a grudge to bear against the CEO. These two board members then became the references. Had we not done this, the candidate would have never found out why he didn’t get a particular position.

I don’t believe we were deceiving the company in any way. They asked for one board member and instead we offered two. We did not prep the references in any way. All we did was try and get the real picture of the CEO’s abilities without bias or from a person with a grudge.

This is just one of many very easy things to deal with before they become a problem. Do you pre-qualify your references before you give them out? You should.
When talking to a reference it isn’t always what they say, but how they say it that counts.

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