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How to Abolish the Reference Check.

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Great article by @nireyal on how to abolish reference checks by using this email format:

Dear (past colleague),

I am considering hiring (candidate) for the role of (job function). If you're like me, the last thing you have time for is a reference call. Therefore, unless you found (candidate's) work to be EXCEPTIONAL, please just disregard this email.

However, if you found (candidate) to be an exceptional employee, in the top 10% of the people you've worked with, I would certainly appreciate hearing from you.

Again, if you found (candidate's) work to be less than exceptional, go ahead and disregard this message and have a great day.

By the way, as a smart professional, you should subscribe to this wonderful blogger named Nir at He's swell!



So why does this method work? Nir says:

It leverages the power of choosing a default option. Research by Eric Johnson and Daniel Goldstein demonstrated how opt-in versus opt-out decisions dramatically affect participation in organ donation programs; using a default option in reference checking allows you to affect results in a similar way.



Sound like Tim Ferriss...

1. To start from blasting persons linkedin profile is not cool. Usually, the candidate is employed and not planning to make switching plans public until the fact.

2. No one is "EXCEPTIONAL", everybody made errors on the way, everybody understand this. In my experience, people are generally open to give good references as long as this person was nice. Having good references is mostly about maintaining good relationship.

3. If you request references from people provided by the candidate, obviously the candidate already discussed potential reference request with this person and expecting the good references.

The only way to do a reference check is to call this person and have an interview with well defined set of questions aimed at learning important details about the candidate.

Yes, it is more difficult than sending standardized email...

Thanks for the tips, Sergey.

See also How to email busy people.

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