Checking References Like You have Never Seen

In one of my previous blogs, I talked about how a multi step structured process can improve the hiring success rate from 25% over 75%.

One of the things that I particularly mentioned was checking references, most people realized that by checking references, you call up the people on the list, they say, he is a great person, she’s a great person. Wonderful. What did that prove?

Well, let me tell you another approach to doing that takes a little more time, but for a key employee a key hire, you know, CFO, COO, maybe a top salesperson. These are people that are representing your company, handling your money, and going to be working with you for a long time. If they work out, it could cost you a lot of money if they don’t, this is worth some extra time. 

So, you get your list, call the references, chat with them for a little bit. Ask your obvious questions and then you say, do you know someone else who knows this person that I could talk to and they almost always give you a name and you call that person. 

So, now this is no longer a person directly referred by the candidate. But you talk to them and you ask them to tell you about the candidate experience and then you ask them also for yet another name. So, if they gave you three references, you call three of those. Now you’ve got three names at the second level and now three names at the third level. 

This is far enough removed where there’s no longer that tight bond, “Oh, I know them so well”. Now these are people that still know the candidate but don’t have that tight connection. You’re much, much more likely to get the real insight on what’s going on. 

So if you’ve got somebody that you’re going to be spending hundreds of hours with over the next few years, that could cost you a huge amount. If it doesn’t work out, spend a couple extra hours, do this reference check at the deeper level. I think you’ll be thrilled at the results, one hire that you would have made that you found out you shouldn’t make pays off many, many times over. 

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