Got Time for a Lazy Reference Check?

In a time where Recruiters need to prove their worth more than ever, it astounds me as to what practices still are undertaken for clients that pay a high price for quality. Reference Checking is often the backbone to a candidate’s chances of getting a role, but yet to some recruiters it appears to be just a box to be quickly ticked before sending an invoice out for their services.

Recently I received an email from a large agency that I won’t name, but let’s just say they certainly do things by half. This recruiter wrote to me as she urgently needed me to complete a reference check so she could place one of our previous contractors in a role. I was keen to assist, but couldn’t help think about the lack of preparation, ethics, understanding and overall professionalism that had been displayed. Here’s why it was so bad:

  • Her email was not to a polished template, just a few words in the message body requiring responses.
  • For the urgency required, somehow an email was better than calling our office in Melbourne from Sydney.
  • No legals, or any explanation what was going to happen to my information & who would see it.
  • No dates to confirm, nor role or any question of who I was or my position. Just blanks.
  • A failure to understand that I was the candidate’s consultant, and not her manager on her assignments, rendering 75% of her questions obsolete.

Sending a rushed cut-n-paste email to a referee (who is just a phone call away) with the expectation that the word ‘URGENT’ will get the the person to quickly do all of the work just smacks of laziness, disinterest & total disrespect for other people’s time. If the referee was a potential client, they’d be certain to steer clear after such an experience.

I replied to the email by asking the recruiter to call me. Well, a few hours later they did, but it was from another girl in a different department, who had no background on the situation, and when I made it clear that I could only help so much as I was not the candidate’s manager, she said she’d go back to ‘the Candidate Management Department’ (I thought I was at Woolworths for a second) and get some more information.

Recruiting is not something to be flippant about. There are companies & careers at stake. Quality & respect is key.



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