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Friday, November 28, 2008

checking references without intent to make an offer

A reader writes:

Do potential employers ever check a/some/all candidates' references with no intent to present an offer to a/some/all of the candidate(s)?

And where is the reference check in relation to the rest of the candidate choosing process?

Only if they're insane. Checking the references of a candidate you have no interest in hiring would be a complete waste of time -- why would you bother? Unless you work at some crappy, inefficient company that insists that you check references across the board, this would make no sense -- and if you do, you should quit because that company is ridiculous.

Personally, I check references only post-interviews, once I know who my top one or two candidates are. It's my final step before making an offer. Candidates should strongly prefer this, too, since it protects your references from fatigue.

4 comments:

Just another HR lady... said...

LOL...I only check references when I have my top one or at most two candidates. I can't see why anyone would waste their time and the referees time if there was no intent to make an offer. If your references were checked, and you didn't receive an offer, you were most likely #2 in the competition, and would have gotten an offer if the #1 candidate did not accept.

Just another HR lady... said...

LOL...I only check references when I have my top one or at most two candidates. I can't see why anyone would waste their time and the referees time if there was no intent to make an offer. If your references were checked, and you didn't receive an offer, you were most likely #2 in the competition, and would have gotten an offer if the #1 candidate did not accept.

Anonymous said...

Two possible explanations for a reference check without an offer:

1. You were the second runner up for the position and the top choice accepted. Although, I wouldn't check references until I was going to offer, so if the top choice declined the offer, I would then go ahead and check #2's references. I am not interested in wasting time.

OR

2. Something came up during the reference check that made me decide this candidate was not a match for us. You'd be surprised what can surface during reference checks...

Anonymous said...

I work for a seasonal recreational company. We hire about 200 new staff each season to add to the 300 or so that return each year. I process about 600 applications from January through May and I have a full time reference checker from Feb-April.
We have to, there are too many applicants, and over half are hired based on a phone interview and how their references turned out. They have to have two good references before I even give the application to a manager.
But then, we aren't like a "normal;" company.