Beat the hiring odds with these 5 steps to insightful reference checks

Photo by Hannah Wei

How to get the most out of reference checks

The strange thing about most reference calls is that by the time the hiring manager is calling she is often already pre-disposed to hiring the candidate.

But the problem is that by the time you actually call people you really WANT to hire the candidate. So often people who do reference calls ask softball questions. That’s not your job. Your job is to seek “disconfirming evidence” meaning you go in with the assumption that Stacy is great but you want to be sure there isn’t something you totally missed.
— Mark Suster, VC at Upfront Ventures

“I’ve been talking with Candidate X about a senior position at [your company]. We’re really lucky we have several great candidates for the role. If Candidate X is one of your favorite people you’ve worked with, I’d love to hear back from you and chat with you about it for a couple minutes.”

It’s not a question, right? It’s a statement that says, if this person is amazing, I’d like to hear back from you. Nine times out of ten, if you send three of those front channel references with the way I just worded that, people will respond within a half-an-hour. “She’s amazing. I would hire her again in a heartbeat.” Fast responses like that are the types of signals you’re looking for.

What kinds of people does the referenced need around him/her to be successful?

What are you waiting for?

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