Reference Checks

Many employers still assume that, beyond providing references on a resume, prospective candidates don’t have any other role to play in the hiring process. They absolutely do.

For more years than I can recall, employers have incorrectly assumed that they’re stuck with the references provided by the candidate seeking employment. While employers should not randomly contact anyone they happen to know who has a passing acquaintance with the candidate without the candidate’s permission, employers have every right to specify to the candidate the types of references with whom they want to talk.

People seeking employment, therefore, hold far fewer cards in the hiring process than many employers think. Employers have something job seekers want – a job! The key is for employers to insist that the candidate provide the types of references the employer wants to contact – people with whom the candidate has actually worked with on a day-to-day basis within the last five to seven years – and the candidate’s express permission to contact them. The employer is not stuck with the references initially provided on a resume. If the candidate really wants the job the employer is trying to fill, he’ll happily provide the appropriate references and give his permission to contact them. After all, there are probably dozens of other possible candidates standing in the same line waiting for the chance to be hired by the employer.