References and More

Lesson 2: Topic 10 of 14

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References are sometimes not truly helpful, as most candidates are going to choose as references people who actually like them. Do check references after successful interviews, anyway, just in case. If your potential hire failed to tell references that you may contact them, or if those contacted give negative feedback, this is critical information about how suitable this person is not for your facility. In one study of over 2,800 employers, 34% reported removing candidates from consideration after checking references – that’s time, money, and emotional energy saved up front! Many companies make the mistake of relying on perceived skills and their own “gut feel” in hiring. It is tempting to take that shorter, less time-consuming route. But remember this person in the interview setting, and has put her best foot forward. She isn’t showing you how she responds to conflict, how diligent she is in completing tasks, how strong her work ethic truly is, or how ethical she is when no one is around to observe.

Your staff need true team members, not people who will drag others down.

One other caveat regarding the hiring process: Don’t have an attitude of entitlement towards job seekers. The Golden Rule applies to hiring, too! Far too many employers and recruiters make implicit or explicit promises to job seekers regarding the hiring process and fail to follow through. Despite everyone complaining about it, “ghosting” remains a common practice with both prospective employees and employers. Ghosting is more than a lack of common courtesy – it’s unethical. If you tell them you’ll be back in touch by a certain date, then do it. If they arrive for an interview and you’re not prepared, apologize. Employers are prone to forget that the interview process is a two-way street; the candidate is evaluating you just as much as you are evaluating him or her. This may not negatively impact the business when unemployment is high and candidates are many, but when unemployment is low and your options are slim, failing to treat candidates with dignity and respect will drive good ones to your competitors and leave you with a pool of lower-quality ones from which to pick. 

And a final thought regarding ghosting – instead of promising every candidate a call or email back, you could let all candidates know that you will contact them only if you choose to go forward in the process with them. While not optimal, it at least allows the interviewer to hold onto integrity. Everyone is busy. If you don’t have time to reply to individuals, help control those expectations.

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