In today’s competitive job market, a savvy job seeker has tipped to the fact that an employment reference can quite literally hold your career in their hands. Their input is critical, and a poor, or even lukewarm, response during a reference check can abruptly derail even the most promising job prospect.
With so much on the line, a proactive job seeker may wisely decide to check their own references before that important job interview. However, using a friend or family member to check your references may do more harm than good.
- Most friends, however well intended, are not reference checking professionals. They may act in an unprofessional manner, ask inappropriate or illegal questions, or allow something to slip that could compromise your position.
- Some states impose limitations or restrictions on impersonation. A friend or family member may use a ruse to elicit information from a reference. A good reference-checking enterprise knows the legal limitations of reference checking and does not cross those lines.
- A friend may not pick up on subtle verbal nuances conveyed by your reference. Intonation, wording, and hesitations in responses can be “red flags” to a professional reference checker that may not be picked up by an unseasoned ear.
- A reference checked by a friend is not legally supportable. If a friend calls and discovers that your reference is providing career-damaging input, you will have no recourse to use this hearsay report for legal or remedial action. A professional reference checking company provides a legally supportable report and may even offer services to help you neutralize a bad reference.
- A friend might not answer your reference’s return call in a professional manner. A friend may inadvertently answer a reference’s return call in a less-than-professional manner. In that case, a suspicious reference might check their Caller ID and perceive what you are up to – not a situation your want with your all-important reference.
- A friend might “sugar coat” negative information about you. You might not hear the full story of their interaction with the reference; it’s hard to be the bearer of bad news, especially to a friend who may not be receptive to hearing some really unflattering information.
- If suspicious of the interviewer, a formerly good reference may become a bad one. If your reference suspects they are being manipulated, you could lose their trust and willingness to act as a favorable future reference.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a casual call from a friend takes the place of a check by a professional reference checking organization such as Allison & Taylor, who confirm that approximately 50% of all reference checks they conduct reveal negative information. Good references are one of your greatest assets when looking for a job, and employers take them very seriously. Make sure yours measure up.
For further details on services and procedures please visit www.AllisonTaylor.com.
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