IN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS, REFERENCING TYPICALLY COMES AT THE FINAL STAGE GATE AND WILL OFTEN BE USED TO RUBBER STAMP A POTENTIAL HIRE. FOR SOME HIRING MANAGERS, THEY TRUST THAT THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS UP TO THAT POINT TURNS UP THE BEST HIRE SO THE IMPORTANCE OF REFERENCES CAN BE DE-EMPHASISED.
Traditionally companies contact the names of people that the candidate reported to and go through a list of questions. However, to uncover the best possible hire particularly for critical hires, what other means are there to use in this stage?
A limitation of this is that often line managers have limited line of sight into the day to day activities of their employees. When line managers monitor on a week to week basis, managers often don’t get a full insight into how someone performs in their day to day duties and look purely at outcomes or KPIs. This can often lead to managing upwards without full insight into how a potential hire performs in an operational or team environment.
One alternative to bypass this is to ask for the reference of one of their peers. Particularly in team-based environments or in matrixed organisations, often the best insight will come from other team members. They have a much better understanding about how they operate and perform with others and will be able to better identify their day to day cultural fit.
Cultural fit and the ability to integrate with other team members is often a much better predictor of the success or failure of a potential recruit. Peers will better identify how a potential hire deals with conflict, pressure to meet deadlines and how they build relationships far more effectively and accurately than a line manager will be able to.
The value of asking for insight from those who work directly with a candidate is clear and underutilised by hiring managers. With this in mind, one suggestion to the reference stage in recruiting is to ask for a line manager and a peer reference prior to making a recruitment decision. This may increase the chances of retention and give an employer a different insight in how to manage, motivate and reward a potential employee.
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