Posts in due diligence
Employment References and Negligent Referrals

It looks as if you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Are you wondering what I'm talking about?

Today, many organizations conduct reference checks on prospective new hires.  The organization typically calls a few references of the prospective hire, who are familiar with his/her work performance.  In many organizations, this task is relegated to Human Resources.

Oftentimes, when you call the new hire's previous employers, they will provide you with a 'neutral reference', i.e., the former employee's position title, dates of employment, and, if the former employee authorizes it, his/her salary.  Some organizations simply state, "It's against our policy to provide references."

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A Reference Check Double Standard

Recently, I was asked how I felt about requiring applicants, whom an organization wishes to hire, to provide three individual references.  These three would be asked to vouch for the applicant's work-related performance.  This was asked in light of the fact that this hiring organization has a reference neutral policy, i.e., they only provide dates of employment, position title, and, if the former employee authorizes it, his/her salary.   Isn't this a double standard?

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