Once again, the subject of reference checking appears to be a hotbed of discussion!!
Let me add fuel to the fire by saying that if conducted thoughtfully, I think references provide us with valuable and useful information about a potential hire.
One of the benefits of conducting a retained search is that I get to know a candidate quite well during the recruiting process. However, everything I know about them is what they have portrayed on their resume, told me about themselves and their technical abilities during interviews, and what I have observed of their behaviors in a variety of situations during the process.
Finally, during reference checking, I have the chance to hear what a candidate has achieved historically and traits in their behavioral patterns as described through the eyes of a previous manager, peer and direct reports. Depending upon the caliber of questions asked and if conducted insightfully, speaking with someone who has worked with a candidate in the past can reinforce my observations or alternatively can bring new information to the table. By working in partnership with my client, this part of the process can help the potential new leadership team build a road map on how best to manage their selected new hire.
At Tower Consultants Search Group we take reference checking seriously and we consider it a very important part of the process. As a hallmark of our success in reference checking, on several occasions, our approach has generated new clients – the candidate’s references!