References - how to approach it?

If you’ve been invited to the reference check stage, firstly take a moment for some self-appreciation: you’ve come this far and there’s just one step ahead! You might then start to think about collecting a list of contacts. Or maybe you’re concerned about where to start? We highly recommend taking a look at this article as the first step. It can help you in going through the last stage of the recruitment process even more smoothly.

What’s the reason behind the reference check stage?

We do our best to learn the candidate’s skills and abilities during the recruitment process to ensure that making the offer will be a good decision for us and that Tidio is the right place for them. Reference checks give us a chance to consider different perspectives, like essential areas as collaboration within a team. Why is it important? We are quite informal as an organisation, and in simple words - you will be rolling through the collaborative projects with the relations you individually developed. Also, “be fair” is one of our core values. In aspects like this, former colleagues’ points of view are incomparably relevant and valuable.

The other important aspect is; If we have an additional point of view on the candidate’s needs, preferences, and abilities, we can tailor the on-boarding process and future collaboration narrowly to them; strengthen weaknesses, and help talents flourish.

Moreover, the perspective companies gain during interviews is usually relatively “flat”. The additional context and insight given by the former manager or colleagues build a more complex picture. And the more complex picture is always closer to the truth.

Let me share an example. 

Once I received a contact from the candidate’s colleague, both were engaged in some freelance projects outside of their full-time jobs. Aware of the outside activity, however we had never dug deeper into it during interviews since we focused on other aspects of their professional life. During work on one of the projects, the colleague had been struggling with some problems in their personal life. The candidate took the major part of the work on their shoulders to help meet goals and complete the project on time. Even though the situation occurred a couple of years ago, the colleague’s sense of gratitude was still vivid. They were happy to share this content and to describe the project’s challenges, which gave us a picture of our candidate’s hands-on and empathic approach in a difficult situation. This gave us a greater insight into their character and we were happy to get to know about it too. 

Key takeaways that will make a reference check a plain sailing

  • Focus on relevancy

Let’s think about it like a 360 degree evaluation. Choose people who were close to your professional activities, had a chance to perceive your successes as well as the challenges and struggles you’ve been facing. It will probably be your direct manager, but it could also be a colleague from the team or a project, an external/internal stakeholder, or a crucial client. 

If you applied for a junior job position and you don’t have much professional experience, look among leaders or colleagues from the university or volunteer organisations you belong or belonged to. 

👉 IMPORTANT! We never require contacts from the current candidate’s company. So don’t worry about it.

  • Prepare a list of contacts.

We ask for up to five contacts that include name, job position and phone number. The contacts list might be longer in the recruitment process for strategic job positions (Head or VP). We won't contact all five referees if we’re able to get relevant opinions after two or three conversations. “Additional” contacts are essential for when someone is unreachable; the recruiter can quickly call the next person from the list and keep the ball rolling.

👉 Worth noticing - we always contact only people from the list we’ve received from you.

  • Let them know they’re on the list.

To make the process convenient for everyone, ask your former colleagues if they are willing and available to talk with the recruiter. You can also ask them about availability and then inform us - we can make calls at their preferred time. The conversation usually lasts for up to 10 mins, so it’s not time-consuming. Additionally, you can provide information on what job position you’ve applied for to give your referees the proper context.

Now you should know everything about the reference check stage and know how you can easily approach it. If you still have any questions or concerns - don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter. We hope to see you soon at the on-boarding!

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