Posted Date: 14th June 2022

It may be crazy to consider hiring someone without obtaining a reference from someone who has already hired them, but what is generally happening when we do this? Firstly, the new starter is likely to give you the contact details of someone they have a good relationship with and are likely to say nice things about them. Yes, of course you will have done your due diligence and ticked a few boxes, used up valuable time and produced a piece of paper that says you've done your bit!

The alternative is you turn Private Investigator and seek out your own references using the company names and dates of employment and POW, you've got them bang to rights and their previous employer has said they wouldn't recommend them, performed poorly, took excessive time off and whatever other reasons you can think of. You've subsequently terminated the job offer and began the search again. `HR' you shout, get me some new candidates!

If we explain that the now rejected candidate would agree they didn't perform well in the last 6 months of their 10 year career with them, however, they put down to being bullied by the new line manager and their partner had got really sick and they had to look after the children. Would this change your mind?

The rejected candidate's last employer may be a well regarded and respected employer, but they just weren't a good fit, the role wasn't the right for them, it didn't match their skill set, they weren't provided the support, training or mentoring to get the best out of them, they didn't feel appreciated, the weren't rewarded financially for their efforts, they were exhausted from long hours...

Now we're not saying don't check references, or that you wouldn't have factored in length of service or bias, just use these references as one small piece of information and consider the other factors. Use your gut feeling, your instincts and your experience and you'll probably not throw away a potential employee who could be perfect! 


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