References..who cares?

When I started out in recruitment some 20 years ago, I came off the back of having been a recruitment consultant trainer. One of the key points that I used to discuss in training was the taking of references. Here are some of the key reasons why..


  1. In order to be able to place your candidate with confidence, knowing that they have been reliable and trustworthy in the past and that they can do what they say they can

  2. To speed up the hiring process. It is always best to take references before you get to offer stage with a candidate (permission obtained of course) so that you have this ready to go as it can take up to 7 days to get a response

  3. To earn your fee! Clients engage with us and trust us to get the right candidates and so in my mind this should be a natural step in the process

  4. To network with potential new clients. It doesn't hurt to ask hiring managers if they engage with recruiters as a way of seeking out new roles.


I was very surprised therefore, when I asked a Frontend developer in Belfast today if I could take details down for his references. He was quite taken aback and asked me if this was just something that we do in England. I explained to him that actually, no, all good recruiters should take references where they can or certainly encourage their clients to do so.


Have references become a thing of the past? Do we now just use Linkedin recommendations as a way to gauge a candidates' suitability?


I would love to hear your thoughts.

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