What will your boss say about you?

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Don’t worry; I will not be calling your boss. But just imagine I did. What would he or she tell us about your performance, your personality, your relationship to colleagues?4157_drama_masks_yellow

What would your previous boss answer to the typical reference check question: if you had a chance to work with our candidate again, would you?  Why or why not?

In my over ten years doing executive search in Thailand, I have seen how candidates try to out-smart both the executive search firm and their client. Unfortunately, too many times. There is typically only one outcome when a candidate attempts to outmaneuver, bewilder, cheat, confuse, defraud, mislead, swindle, and lead us or the client astray. And that is losing the job opportunity; getting a bad reputation in the market; embarrassing yourself when the people, who you gave as reference, is asking why you didn’t get that big job you had talked about.201_business_man_woman_colour

Here are two true horror reference check stories that will shake you up.

  1. We called the HR department to ask when our candidate was employed there and in which role. And this was for the candidate who our client had chosen to head their accounting and finance. The period of employment, given by the HR, was just half the time that we had been told by the candidate and what was stated in the resume. Presented with the facts, the candidate admitted to have “merged” two jobs into one company to avoid being labeled a job-hopper. Oh well, I don’t about you, but is job-hopper a better label than a cheat? Of course, the client immediately pulled out of the offer and employment.
  2. Our successful candidate gave us a few names for reference checking. On the first reference check call, the voice of the person we called sounded familiar and the conversation felt like we had talked to this person before. And it turned out, that we had indeed talked before. Would you believe it, it was actually the candidate who was on the line and pretending to be a former colleague. That was the end of that placement and the candidate is now blacklisted.

Here are some of the questions that Grant Thornton is using for reference checks. Ask yourself what your former boss and colleagues will answer. Make sure at the interview that you are open about what may be said. Put the cards on the table, no one is perfect and as long as you tell the story as it is, you don’t need to worry.11493_check_box_red_web

  • What work behaviour was most admired about our candidate?
  • Please describe our candidate’s skills in building rapport with clients and colleagues.
  • In terms of personality and attitude, how is our candidate remembered by the management and colleagues?
  • Did our candidate resign from the company? Or was our candidate dismissed? Can you elaborate on possible reasons for the resignation or dismissal as it was?
  • Were there any domestic, personal or financial difficulties that interfered with the work?
  • Was our candidate involved in any legal dispute, or industrial relations, against you or the company?
  • Was there any time our candidate’s honesty and integrity had to be questioned?

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Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.