June Tip Sheet


Should You Check References?

Yes, if you are willing to do it the right way. A reference check should take more than a minute of the former employer’s time. It should be treated by you as a secondary job interview.

Broad brush questions like,

  • Was Chris a good employee?
  • Was Melanie a hard worker?
  • Was Ed a team player?
only scratch the surface of the information that is available. A long-term employer (3 or more years) should be able to recall specific instances where an employee showed dedication to getting a particular job done right, took charge of a floundering project or displayed emotional intelligence to obtain the best result from others.

The AcuMax individual profile specific interview questions are an excellent reference question starting point and can serve as a cross check to the interview answers you received from the candidate.

Ambiguous answers to focused questions will aid you in detecting whether the reference provided is really just a relative, roommate or personal friend of the candidate posing as an employer. (A follow up quick connection on LinkedIn to thank the person you’ve just contacted will also verify if you actually spoke to an imposter).

You should be aware that some former employers will be reluctant to provide negative information due to liability concerns. If you sense reluctance – you should ask why. Is there a general no reference policy by that employer (which your candidate should know) or is there a confidentiality agreement in place respecting this candidate? A failure to provide more information than name, rank and salary should be a red flag which causes you to pause and to dig deeper on that candidate.

Some Funny References*

Q –  Would you hire him again?
A –  Sure, as a librarian. But when pressed the reference said, “I mean it. Because if your client hires this guy, he needs to be put into a building by himself. He can’t get along with anybody”.

Q –  Is he a good and capable worker?
A – “Yes, except on Mondays when he frequently came to work very tired.” When asked why, the former supervisor said Jim had another job where he wrestled bears on the weekend, and it wore him out.

Q –   How is his job performance?
A – His overall job performance was better than any other crew member. He had no weaknesses or areas that needed improvement. He left the company on his own accord and was not fired. But when asked if he would hire this person again, he replied, “No! In fact, the sheriff is still looking for him. He stole my truck when he left. Say, you folks wouldn’t happen to know where he is right now, would you?

* From Military.com 

Talking to Yourself?
Me:  I am such a High B that I sometimes talk to myself!

Me:  OMG! Me too!