Editor: “I called over there for a reference, left word with some snooty girl, next thing you know I got a fax from Miranda Priestly saying that of all the assistants she ever hired, you were by far her biggest disappointment. And if I don’t hire you I’m an idiot. You must have done something right.” – From The Devil Wears Prada
As Miranda so beautifully illustrates, the next step in the hiring process is very important and probably the most difficult.
Speaking with a candidate’s references is not just to determine an applicant’s weaknesses, but to gain insight into the candidate’s personality, work style and ethics. References should add to the snapshot you’re creating of this marketing, creative or interactive candidate.
To get the most out of your reference calls:
- Speak with a variety of contacts – A peer, manager and perhaps a direct report will help you get a perspective on the candidate from different view points.
- Get the facts – Confirm dates, position title and responsibilities. Get qualitative information to gain insight into the candidate’s work style. How does the person work with others? Are they a team player or lone ranger?
- Listen – People will often reveal a great deal about someone if you ask an open ended question and just listen. Include inquiries into skill level, professionalism, strengths and weaknesses, and other points that are relevant to your position.
- Know the law – You must always get permission from the candidate to speak with their references. Be sure you understand the EEOC guidelines for conducting a reference check as well.
Now that you have your references in order, it’s time for the next step.
So Stay Tuned for Tip #7