Use TORC When Hiring

Not checking with a candidate’s previous employers is a serious mistake that many companies make when making a hiring decision. Sometimes it’s impossible to check a person’s employment record or do meaningful reference checks because the candidate is still in his first job.

If you have someone you want to hire but the candidate is still employed, use TORC to deal with the situation.

TORC stands for "Threat of Reference Checks."

Tell the candidate that you always make job offers contingent upon receiving a satisfactory reference from his current employer. If the candidate is having problems with his employer, he’ll disappear in a flash. If things are OK, he’ll accept the condition and make sure he leaves his current employer on good terms.

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7 Responses to “Use TORC When Hiring”

  1. Jim Hughes January 29, 2011 at 11:00 am #


    That’s a good one, but as in any recommendation anyone makes, let’s make sure, or better said, remind people that there isn’t a magic pill. I left a company once where my boss loved me, and he wrote a wonderful reference letter which I could use. However, truth be told, I was running from the place because the CEO, my bosses boss, disliked me immensly. So, if you are going to check references within a company, ask for multiple names. Even then you may be surprised, but no one can say you didn’t do due diligence.

    • Brian Jeffrey January 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      You raise a good point, Jim. I’m less excited about whatever references a candidate provides me than I am about the ones they don’t provide but that I have to ask for, such as supervisors, co-workers, former customers, etc.

      It’s getting harder to get anyone to give references these days but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to get them. In fact, sometimes non-references can tell us a lot about the person. Like my Mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” 🙂

  2. Eliot Burdett February 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Great point. And it’s not just about avoiding a bad hire, for us it’s also about efficiency in the hiring process, so one of the initial questions we ask any candidate is who they would use as a reference. Since candidates are sometimes nervous about providing references, we let them know we won’t be checking them yet, but want to know who they would use and pose all future questions as if we plan to validate the answers. This increases the chances the candidate tells the truth and decreases the chance we spend time assessing people that don’t qualify.

    • Brian Jeffrey February 17, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      This is an effective use of TORC. Just using the “T” (the Threat) can help a candidate focus on providing more candid responses.

  3. Jim Hughes February 17, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    WOW! I had no idea we had the same mother! LOL!

  4. Edward Williams May 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm #

    You deserve to have the following happen (as was the case with a good friend):
    Interviewer demanded reference from current boss:
    Candidate: Here are my last 2 performance reviews (both extremely good). However, if you call my current boss, he will become very angry, give me a bad reference, and fire me since he will then know I’m thinking of changing jobs. I know that because he has done that to others.
    Interviewer: Those performance reviews mean squat — you could have faked them.
    Candidate: I withdraw my candidacy for this position. Good day.

    • Brian May 25, 2020 at 2:19 pm #

      This can and does happen. Good for the candidate.
      Brian J.

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