Tag Archives: careers

Back Door References – Just another form of gossip

In most searches, the final step is reference checking.  The candidate provides three or four people they have worked with or reported to.  Those people are asked a series of questions about the candidate’s work style and reliability and if the references are done right, they are also asked about areas of improvement and for an explanation of why they left the company.

This exercise is not meant to confirm that the person can do the job.  It provides verification of the good things you saw in the candidate.  And when you see common themes in what people have said, it’s a pretty sure thing.

Sure, this can seem like a bit of a rubber stamp.  But that’s okay.  If every reference check gave you crappy feedback, then you would soon realize have a major problem with your vetting and interview process.

Sometimes impatient or unsure hiring managers take this into their own hands and call people who have worked with or know of the candidate.  Many industries are small enough that this is possible.  This is called back door reference checking.

From a privacy standpoint, this is totally wrong and really crosses the line.  There is a reason we ask a candidate for people to call.

If you hear something bad, what will you do?  Call the candidate and tell them that their former manager said they were unreliable?  What if that manager was on leave for harassment?  You don’t know.  You have no context.

What if you call a former colleague and they happen to mention it to someone else in the organization?  What happens to that candidate who was quietly exploring a new role and all of the sudden everyone knows?  Bad news.

Do don’t play fast and loose with people’s careers.  If there is a particular point of view you want included in the reference, just ask.  That’s the best way.

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Filed under career change, Interview

Stay on Track with your Career Resolutions

We are almost at the end of the first week of 2017.  How are those new years resolutions working out?  Still bringing your lunch to work?  Been to the gym a couple of times?

And how about your career?  Any thoughts on that during the holidays?  Probably not….way too much family, friends and Netflix.

You can still make change.  It just takes one small step at a time.  Here is something you can do today.clock

Get a friend or colleague to look at your LinkedIn profile while you read through theirs. Take about five minutes. Make some notes on the things that you like  and some notes on what you think might be missing. Consider things like their career path, successes, causes, projects and even their photo. You have a more objective point of view of their work and that’s where your opinion adds real value.

When you are done, get together and compare notes.  You should each get some good flashes of insight into how to present yourself more fully to the LinkedIn world.  If you want to really go all out, make the changes that you feel are warranted and then show your profile to someone outside of your workplace or work group.  Feedback without the immediate work context can be really helpful as well.

Tip:  when you edit your profile,  turn off the button that notifies your connections about your changes (it’s on the right hand side of the page).  There is nothing more annoying than 500 people congratulating you on a new role when all you did was fix a typo.

 

 

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Filed under career change, linkedin

Interview like a Star – Don’t make these Mistakes

I polled a couple of colleagues today and was surprised at the rapid pile of responses I got to “biggest interview mistakes”.

These are real life examples.  I am not making them up.  Promise.

  • leaving your phone on during an interview
  • taking a call on that phone while you are in an interview
  • forgetting to do up your middle button
  • having lettuce in your teeth
  • arriving late
  • not knowing who you are meeting
  • wearing clothes that don’t fit
  • being drunk
  • interrupting the interviewer
  • sweaty palms
  • speaking too quickly
  • rambling – if you can’t remember the question, you have talked too long
  • offensive jokes
  • asking about other possible roles in the company
  • using LinkedIn to connect with the hiring manager or president before the interview

All of these can be avoided with two simple steps.  Prepare the day before and do a 360 review with a mirror before you get to the interview location.

In fact, these steps are pretty sensible for any meeting   Go ahead and practice.  You will be happy you did.

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