In the dance of hiring, few steps are more scripted than checking job references. Hiring managers usually call references to confirm their instincts or because HR requires they do so. More often than not, candidates list references who will sing their praises. What’s more, research suggests that candidates rarely select (and interviewers rarely request) references who will depict a multi-dimensional picture of their personal and professional skills.
For hiring managers, it’s easy to wonder whether checking references is a total waste of time. But according to organizational psychologist Adam Grant, there’s a simple way to make job references tell the truth about a candidate, without making anyone uncomfortable. This is invaluable, as job references are one of the only ways to see beyond the veneer of dazzling credentials and well-rehearsed interviews.
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