References have been one of the final steps of the hiring process for years. Managers are looking for verification that the person they want to hire is as good as they think they are.
And who better to hear from than other managers?
Problems started to arise when managers were a bit loose with the material they shared such as inadvertently giving confidential information about the business or inappropriate details about the candidate.
Also, if a candidate did not get a role because of a bad reference, disputes arose and lawyers got involved. It was ugly.
At that point, HR departments in many companies created policies that prevented managers from providing references. Only HR could. And because HR did not always know the person, they would only verify title and employment dates.
As always, a workaround developed. Candidates would provide the contact info for a former manager who was no longer at the company and therefore, not bound by reference policies.
Smart, career minded people stay in touch with corporate friends and allies for this reason.
Be nice to people when they leave the organization, regardless of the reason for their departure. Set up at least one coffee date per month with a former manager or colleague. You never know when you are going to need someone who can authentically vouch for your performance at work and verify the stuff that’s on your resume.
There can be an unexpected bonus in all this networking: coffee dates often lead to opportunities in the form of introductions and job leads.
Smile and bring on the double double!