The importance of references

By Charlie Knight |


Now here’s a subject that I’m sure will provoke some responses in particular from candidates. You’ve had a recruiter call you up about a role and they ask for your references; you provide them and then you never hear from the recruiter again. Meanwhile the referee gets called by the recruiter and he’s trying to pitch business to him rather than get a real reference on the candidate. Has something like this happened to you?

Of course this is the bad side but there is a positive side and I’ll give you an example:

Just this month one of our clients; a major European Telecoms operator requested a number of contract resources for a major project. The client actually knew the market place of contractors pretty well and apart from the technical requirements was very clear about the type of person who would (and would not) fit into the team. There was no room for error and wanted to minimise the risk of hiring the wrong contractor as the turn-around had to be quick and they didn’t have the time to see them face to face.

One of the candidates we were looking to propose had not worked for 5 months but there seemed to be genuine reasons for it (and many recruiters rightly or wrongly may just ignore calling them due to this). They also did not have all the experience required but they had the right attitude we believed would contribute to being a successful part of the team. The CV in black and white was in our opinion not enough to sell this candidate (they had already had their CV sent to other roles and not made interview) so we asked for a reference from his previous manager. We called the previous manager and got a real reference (sorry not just some standard HR line) and actually found the genuine reasons for him finishing, the candidates strengths and weaknesses and after discussing the role and the responsibilities with the previous manager they felt strongly the candidate could not only perform but had the right attitude to succeed in the kind of environment requested.

When we presented the CV we included a quote from that reference as well as contact details directly to the hiring manager which in turn gave him the confidence to interview him and then follow up with the previous manager to re-confirm. Now there could have been quote on LinkedIn references but that wouldn’t have necessary shown up the weaknesses and lets face has you ever seen a LinkedIn references which talks about someone’s weaknesses for example?
The genuine recruiter will use that reference to first rule out candidates who may not be suitable but also use that reference to help sell the candidate in to win the interview.

Finally if the recruitment consultant has done a professional job there is no harm in them asking the manager after the reference if this is the kind of service they would like from a recruiter; after all good recruiters should be looking to build their business with good clients to place other candidates with.

Now I know some candidates particular for a shorter 3 month contract may feel it’s not worth the client doing a reference but actually would you want to spend your budget on hiring the wrong candidate who could not only not perform but be disruptive to the team? If it was my budget I’d want to ensure I minimise the risk of hiring the wrong person whether it’s a permanent employee or a short term contractor.

What’s your experience?

Source: Vine 15

Charlie Knight

Written by Charlie Knight

Charlie has 3 years experience in digital marketing, helping B2B technology companies grow their businesses through inbound marketing before joining Vine Resources as Content Marketing Manager. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travelling and the great outdoors, and he recently hiked from Mexico to Canada for charity.


Why Vine Resources?


For more than 15 years, we’ve been providing talent solutions for clients from fast growing start-ups to established brands, providing contract resources, permanent hires and project solutions.


Looking to hire? Click the button below to book a discovery call.


Book a Discovery Call