What are the best kind of references?

We’re very particular about the people we let repair client computers.  I’ve written about hiring before, but it’s shocking how few businesses check references.  The only thing worse than not checking references is the terrible references we get when we check them for technicians.

Blue Rider needs a phone call

This article from hiring site Monster.com explains some key points. The obvious one (although not obvious to people I talk with) is make sure you know what the reference will say.

The most common responses I get from a reference check are

I can’t reach the reference.

The technician gave me a generic number for the business.  For example, the reference given was a manager at a big box retail store.  When I called the number and asked for that manager, I was told he hadn’t worked there for five years.  They didn’t know where he was transferred to or if he even worked for the company.

A quality technician does research and finds out where the reference is working.  Most techs just give up, which is why we don’t want them to work on your computer.

The reference doesn’t remember the technician.

You’d think if someone puts down a reference, that reference will remember them.  Nope.  When I reach a reference, they don’t remember the technician.  They might be able to confirm the technician worked at the company.  The reference can’t give too many details.  Sometimes it’s company policy, but most of the time the reference is just stale.

The reference has bad things to say.

We tend to remember negative experiences over positive ones, so this makes sense.  When someone leaves a lasting impression, it isn’t always the best.  You’d think in these situations the applicant would recognize this.  Nope.  These technicians get rejected right away.  It isn’t just because of what the reference says, but the lack of verification by the technician.  We like technicians who follow-up and follow-through.

How to Prevent Reference Check Problems.

The article mentioned earlier explains some tips, but I’d say just call the reference before and after an interview.  Before the interview remind them of who you are and verify you can reach them.  If you can’t, then remove them from your reference list.

After the interview, let them know how it went.  The reference can fill in gaps that seemed to be lacking in the interview.  Maybe you misspoke or emphasised the wrong thing.  Don’t put words in the reference’s mouth, but let them know what the potential employer was interested in.

Again, we check references of everyone working on your computer as well as doing an extensive background check with a private investigator.  We want to make sure anyone who touches your technology is top notch!

Photo by Fabio Sola Penna

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