Without a doubt one of the most tedious parts of the hiring process is the reference check. While it may be the most tedious, it is without a doubt the most fruitful. Each call is warm and if you are good, you can walk away with a gold mine of information.
Time and time again I’ve heard from candidates that their references were never checked (dumb recruiter) and from recruiters that they never asked for references (dumber recruiter). I’ll be the first to admit that I can be lax at times but that tends to be when I know the candidate personally. In the same breath, if they’ve been in your respective market long enough, it’s easy to do what I call a “soft reference”. Soft meaning an easy phone call without all of the typical formalities of “rank their skills on a 1 to 10 scale” gibberish.
Now…for the formal references, I tend to ask for 6 references (2 managers, 2 peers and 2 people they consider to be experts in their skill set (a mentor)). If I only reach 1 of each, I have 3 very distinct and evenly dispersed points of view regarding the candidates skill set.
My typical references have a myriad of questions but below are my tops. (KEY POINT IS RE-ITERATING TO THE PERSON YOU ARE CALLING – “WHAT WE DISCUSS IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH THE CANDIDATE”. You’d be surprised what you hear if you preface your call with that statement. )
1. Name and title of the reference
2. Relationship to the candidate
3. Years/months known
4. When did they last work with the candidate
5. Job duties
6. Strengths and weaknesses
7. Technologies used (I’m a geek)
8. Deadlines met?
9. Product meet specs?
10. Work ethic
13. Technical expertise
15. Why did they leave?
16. Salary/Hourly rate (if applicable)
17. WOULD YOU REHIRE –if no –why not?
What did I miss?? Please share your process…like yesterdays post….I want to learn something new everyday. My way works exceptionally well for me but I’m sure it can be refined.