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References 101

Should I have letter of references ready at interviews?  I don’t have any at the moment… to be honest, I’ve never had to supply letters of reference, but it sounds like you need them eventually?  Is this true?
The days of actual letter references (i.e. a printed page with references that you hand to someone with your resume) are long gone.  You will, however, need to provide references for positions, so you should always prepare ahead of time.  What I do is have a list of five to ten references, including name, current title/company, how long they’ve known you, what position/company they know you from, and a very short (one line) mention of how they know you.
–   For instance: –   Name:  John Smith –   Current Position:  VP Sales, The Widget Company –   Years Known:  5 – How Known:  As VP Sales, John indirectly oversaw and received my work product during my tenure as a Strategic Marketing Manager –   Contact Information:  (phone/email) –     Here’s the simple process for submitting references (and it is simple, but like all things in sales, the devil’s in the details)… –   1)  First, think of your five to ten people –   2)  Contact them and ask if they would be your reference at some point in the future. –   3)  Type up their information as I’ve shown above.  If you have this list already typed up, all you have to do is drop the references you select into an email along with a creative self-marketing paragraph and hit send to the company. –   4)  ONLY provide references when asked for them.  You can always offer, but unless they directly ask for them or say “yes” to your offer to supply names, don’t provide them. –   5)  Once you’ve been asked by the company for references and BEFORE SENDING IT TO THEM, make sure to select the most appropriate references for the position from your list and make sure to do the following: –   –  Contact each one ahead of time to give them a head’s up about the position you’re interviewing for, why you’re interested in the job, and that someone MAY be contacting them (because you never know if they will be contacted or not).  This also gives you one last opportunity to screen your selected references. –   –  ALWAYS double check the contact information of your selected references prior to issuing to the company. –   –  I always ask my references if they would contact me after they’ve been contacted by the company, if only to close the loop and know that the company is researching me. –   All of this gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with your references which is a good thing! 6)  Use the opportunity when sending a list of references to the company (again, via email) to stay in touch with the company about decision progress, to reiterate your three key take-aways about yourself, and mention that you’ll follow up with them to ensure that they have no issues in contacting your references.  If for some reason they do, you can always follow up with another from your list. –   7)  If the company doesn’t mention how many references they need (always a minimum of three, and sometimes five), don’t ask.  Just send them three with the note that you’ll follow up with them. –   8)  Follow up with the company to make sure they had no issues in contacting your references. –   9)  Follow up with your references and let them know whether you received the position (or not).  Make sure to thank them for their reference.  If you didn’t get the position, make sure to confirm with them about being a reference again moving forward. –   Your references are either deal sealers or deal breakers!  Choose them wisely, coach them on the position, what you’ve said about your work history and any interaction that you may have had with the reference in the past.  If it’s a REALLY important position and it’s a MUST HAVE, make sure to tell your reference this.  If you have ANY doubts about using a reference, DON’T USE THEM!!! –     Authored by: George Kirby
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Don’t do these things… ever

(thoughtfully plagiarized from Brenden Wright’s blog) How to Sabotage Your Recruiting Efforts in Six Easy Steps follow this blog post posted by Brenden Wright on June 8, 2009   I’m constantly quite amazed at the level of ignorance, and often arrogance, which exists with some hiring supervisors. Do you ever ask yourself how a person got into the position they occupy? I know I do. I constantly hear the overplayed and overstated “people are our most important asset” cliché – yet actions seldom back up this widely accepted ideology. Recruiting great talent, even in a down economy, isn’t easy and we’re not even going to talk about retaining them once they arrive. We make it hard enough just to get candidates to take us seriously during the interview process. Down economy or not, great people always have options.   So, for those of you who still need some help in figuring out how to completely sabotage your recruitment efforts, I’ve compiled a quick guide of six easy steps that will get you there faster then you ever thought possible.   Step #1: Beat up your recruiters about the lack of “qualified” candidates and then decline candidates based on your “gut” feeling about the resume.   Excuse me, but what does “overqualified” mean? Or, what does “not the right fit” mean? Often, I’ve found that the term “overqualified” means one of a few things. But usually it’s either the hiring manager is afraid the candidate could take her job or she is discriminating based on some other assumption that lacks any evidence whatsoever. “I just think this candidate would be bored here, so I’d rather not talk to them.”   As your recruiter leaves your office, please disregard the pounding sound on the wall outside your door. That’s just her head repeatedly meeting the drywall. Step #2: Once you finally find someone that passes the “fit” test and set up an interview, don’t make yourself available to interview. Pride goes before the fall.   I’m reminded of a recent example where a hiring manager had a very difficult, highly-specialized position that had been vacant for almost 11 months. Finally, a candidate surfaces that meets all the requirements and is greatly interested in the opportunity. The catch is that this candidate is on the market and other organizations are also aggressively pursing her. Does your hiring manager care? Of course not! She’s not available, and won’t do anything to make herself available, to see the candidate for three weeks. And, despite your best efforts to convince her that she needs to move quickly, she responds with, “well, if the person doesn’t want to wait to see us, then he must not want to work here, so it’s probably ‘not the right fit.’” I’m starting to hate that line. At this point, please remove all sharp objects from your recruiter’s office. Step #3: Be late for your scheduled interview time. Or better yet, just don’t even show up. After all, if the candidate doesn’t want to wait to see us, then he must not want to work here, right? It’s 10:00am and I’m standing outside the office of a Vice President with a Director-level candidate. At 10:20am, we decide that we’ll just be early for the next person on the itinerary. What message does this send to the candidate? We are disorganized, we don’t care about how we are perceived, we aren’t interested in how top talent views us, and we really don’t give a squat about the candidate’s time. These incidents are usually followed by the explanation that some blip in the matrix or wobble in the space-time continuum caused a random IT error that removed the appointment from the VP’s calendar. You’d be amazed at how many IT errors are responsible for missed interviews. I wonder if IT realizes how much they get blamed. Scratch that – I’m sure they do. Step #4: Don’t prepare for your interview. After all, you have more important things to do – like the work of the employee you are trying to hire. How many times do we have to send you the resume? How many times do we have to come to your office with the candidate only for you to tell us, in front of the candidate, that you never received their information? How many times do you need to embarrass yourself, your recruiter, and the organization before you take just a few minutes to be responsible for yourself in the recruitment process? Your lack of preparation for the interview speaks louder than any words ever could about the level of importance you place on hiring the best talent. And your recruiter really enjoys forwarding you the e-mail he sent you last week with the candidate’s information just to prove a point. We’re passive-aggressive like that sometimes. Step #5: Ask stupid questions. Why is a manhole cover round? I’m sorry, are we dealing with manhole covers in the Accounting Department? If you ask any hiring manager whether or not they consider themselves a good interviewer and predictor of talent and success, most will sing their own praises from the mountaintops. I’m sorry, but most hiring managers have no formal training and, subsequently, not a really good grasp on how to conduct a successful interview. Especially when you ask questions like, “if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” I’d be an oak tree. And I would fall on you. Step #6: Don’t make a decision. It’s three weeks after your candidate’s final interview and your hiring manager still needs to “get feedback” from the team. Um, what? How is this possible? And then we are hit with the dreaded, “well, if the candidate doesn’t want to wait to hear from us, he must not really want to work here.” Kill me now. So, there you have it. Six sure-fire ways to ensure your organization never hires the best and brightest talent and you continue to fill your ranks with people who don’t care and just want a job. The best thing about this instructional guide is that you only have to do just one of the six steps to lose your top candidate. But, if you’d really like to make sure you drive talent away from your organization like deer from a burning forest, make sure you do them all. Happy sabotaging! Feel free to add to the list!
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