Tag Archives: job seekers

The Reference Game

References have been one of the final steps of the hiring process for years. Managers wanted 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 like inadvertently giving confidential information about the candidate or the business.

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 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.

Not helpful.

As always, there was a workaround. Candidates would provide the contact info for a former manager who was no longer at the company and not bound by reference policies.

Smart, career minded people stay in touch with corporate friends and allies for this reason.

You can be sure that the material from this “cultivated” group is going to be positive through and though.

Employers started to question the validity of these references. This saw the evolution of the “back door” reference. This is when you know someone who knows the candidate and you reach out to see what they are really like. 

Although I see where this is seen as helpful, it puts us back to the bad old days of off-the-cuff references that are based on a general feeling as opposed to bona fide skills and experience.

I talked to one person who got her last job without providing references. The company no longer believed in them. They re- structured the interview process and started to use assessment tools. They felt that the information was much more useful and they felt just as good about their hires.

What’s your point of view on references? Pile of praise or pile of baloney?

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search

Job Seeker Badges

The other night, my human resources association chapter event featured Sidneyeve Matrix (yes, that’s really her name).  She is an assistant professor at Queen’s University.  She teaches mass communications to 1000 students a year.

She filled our heads with all kinds of information about social media and how it’s really being used today.

One of the many cool concepts she talked about was badges.  Firefox has started a campaign where organizations that educate can issue and users can earn badges to display on their online profiles.  Today, we just have our degrees and diplomas up on the wall and people can only see them if they scroll way down to the bottom of a linked in profile.

Imagine if your google+  or Facebook page had 6 or 8 badges that reflected your knowledge and achievements.  Cool, no?

Firefox has made available developer kits so that companies can make their own badges for people to earn.  I am no developer but here is the list of badges that I think need to be developed for job seekers.

  • Knows how to ace a behavioural interview including the trick question about how many tall people live in Chicago
  • Has created several different versions on their resume –  Word, PDF and Infographic
  • Can go to a cocktail party and score a meeting
  • Is still connected to people at every company where they have ever worked
  • Can name and navigate six or more job boards
  • Has a working relationship with two recruiters (by relationship, I mean they will return your call

So maybe the last one is a little personal but in my view, these are all badge worthy skills.  Even if you can’t get a badge for them yet, work on them anyway.  It’ll do you good.

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