The off the record reference check – Yeah or Nah?
By Justine Eden, Director, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
It is often said that living and working in Queensland means there is about one degree of separation between us, that everyone is in some way connected to many of the same people, either personally or professionally. In this digital world, we are even more connected using social media platforms daily to connect with and have conversations with people we may never meet in person.
So when you are recruiting to a critical appointment how tempted are you to call on these connections? Should you only talk with nominated referees provided by the applicant? Or can you leverage your connections to a potential appointee to find out how they have performed or where they might best fit?
In reality no applicant is going to provide a referee they know will not say good things about them. You hope that most referees will provide an honest and frank assessment of the individuals performance and outcomes, weighing the positives with any aspects requiring further development.
Is talking to your connections about a potential appointee considered due diligence? Are you right to review an applicant’s social media and digital profile when contemplating making an offer to that person?
When making an offer of employment I believe it is imperative to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision that is best for the organisation, team and individual. You may gather from off the record conversations and digital checks that this individual is not aligned to your organisation and may be better suited to a different context.
Taking a referee’s perspective into account, for example, whether the referee is at the same level to the applicant and also removing any bias you perceive, perhaps stemming from their departure, is key to interpreting a reference – whether on or off the record.
Ultimately the facts and your impressions should align against what you require in the role and operating context and exploring as comprehensively as you can, prior to making any offer is a wise investment.
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