Why checking References is a waste of your time (and what you can do instead)

Why checking References is a waste of your time

(and what you can do instead).

So, You’ve been interviewing, finally found a candidate you like (let’s call him Bob) and ready to write an offer letter.

But before, you gotta check Bob’s references, right?

Not so fast!

Here is a question for you:

When someone asked you for a reference in the past, have you ever given them someone you know would not vouch for you?

Hope not.

So the chance of you getting glowing recommendations for Bob is super high. Get ready to hear how amazing Bob is.

Here is a deal though: those glowing recommendations are most likely completely not useful or true.

But there’s a better way!

Instead of asking for references, and getting a list of people Bob decided to offer you, YOU flip the script.


Ask Bob to send you 3 previous managers/bosses he had in the last couple of roles (one exception could be where he is currently employed).

Not a teacher from 20 years ago. Not a coworker they used to grab a beer with. Actual managers.

This simple exercise is actually a test: Is Bob cooperating and actually has 3 previous managers who can vouch for him?

If yes, you’ll get a more honest feedback.

If not, you just saved yourself from a costly hiring mistake. Run now.

Ask Bob to coordinate a call with his references and you, so you avoid playing phone tag with them forever.

Never do this:
Unless you just call to verify employment times, don’t call Bob’s previous employers out of the blue.

It’s a Waste of time. They can’t really share much with you about his performance. That’s why getting Bob’s permission and introduction is a key.

There. Never waste your time doing references wrong again.