Talk to Three or More References

Some people quit after doing one or, at the most, two reference checks. Not good!

Only checking one reference is like only having one clock to use to determine the exact time. It might be right or it might be wrong. Two clocks (or references) may cancel each other out or be too similar. Three clocks (or references) are more likely to get you closer to the truth.

Asking a candidate to provide you with references is like asking the fox what time they’d like to start guarding the henhouse. Any answer is a bad one. Why? Because, unless they have a career death wish, they’re only going to provide the names of people who are prepared to give absolutely incredible references.

Rather than ask the candidate to give you three references, ask him for permission to contact former bosses or supervisors and then get those names. If he can’t, or is hesitant to give you any names, beware. The candidate may ask for time to do so. I prefer to not give them time to contact the people as I’m looking for candid and spontaneous responses to my reference-checking questions and I’d rather they not be forewarned that I’m going to call.

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