We mean, like, for real check references. Nahwhatimsayin? I’m not talking about those references that the candidate lists at the bottom of their resume. And I don’t want to necessarily know what the candidate’s BFF Charles thinks about him, either. Unless, the references at the bottom of the resume are from a previous, direct supervisor and Charles is a BFF because the candidate-in-question had such a great work ethic and doubled company profitability in like, 5 minutes, those types of references aren’t considered all that relevant.
Think about it: wouldn’t it be great if we could check references before entering into a romantic relationship? Seriously, how much time and tears and pints of ice cream could have been saved had we just sat down to lunch with one of our exes previous girlfriends or wives? Petition to create an ex-boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife referral or reference app! Although THAT topic is a subject for another time, there is a key point here that we want to emphasize.
We check reviews on product and service sites like Amazon and Yelp, right? Why shouldn’t the same idea apply for reference checking candidates? Employers want to know what they’re “getting into” with a candidate, how well they work, and if there is a return policy (also known as “at-will” employment), and rightly so. Reference checks are like customer reviews. Not everyone has something nice to say, but if the candidate did a great job and is considered a pretty decent person, the reference will likely be a positive one. IN FACT, candidates are checking your references before they even apply most times, on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
Perhaps the reference question is taboo because so many companies have a policy against providing a reference of substance. Maybe they’re afraid(?), feel uncomfortable(?), or otherwise feel hypocritical(?) when asking to check a candidate’s references…maybe it’s all three reasons?
We think it’s time to DISRUPT the notion that reference checks should be taboo. We jump all over candidate and employee referrals like they’re the best thing since The Snuggie, shouldn’t we then also hold a direct supervisor’s referral or opinion of their employee’s services in high regard?