Monday, July 07, 2008

Judgement calls - about jobs & references

There have been times when companies have recruited people for specific positions, purely on the basis of the references that the prospective candidate brings. There are other times, when candidates refuse companies based on the feedback that they receive from their reference - either direct or indirect. In each case, the role of the referee becomes critical for either the candidate or the new company.

But, there are instances, when one should never ever listen to references. And these instances are the toughest to handle i.e. you know the credibility of your referee, you know him/her for a long time, he/she wishes the best for you - but at the end of it all, the choice that you make, could completely backfire. It is not the fault of the referee per se, nor is it the fault of the candidate who makes the move to join the new firm. There are other elements involved - the whole fitment issue, the cultural adjusment, the softer and deeper nuances of the firm, the ruthlessness of the top bosses in the new firm, the ridiculous working hours in the new firm, the bad orientation to bend head over heels to clients etc - which the new candidate may never believe in and find may find hard to adjust to.

The role of the referre becomes even more pronounced, if he/she knows both about the firm where the reference is being made, and, the candidate himself/herself. It is important to present both the pros and the cons of the new firm so that candidates can make informed decisions. This, is something I am going to do whenever I refer somebody to a firm, especially when I know the goings-on within that firm.