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Stupid Hiring Mistakes: You Let HR Do Reference Checks | No BS Hiring Advice

Who do you think someone is going to be more forthright with? You or HR?


I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, a career and leadership coach, the head coach for JobSearchCoachingHQ, com, and I used to work in recruiting. I did it for more than 40 years. I listened to corporations and their representatives in one way or another agonize over hiring decisions, making lots of mistakes, trying to guide them through it. Sometimes, their way was better than mine. Sometimes my way was better than theirs.

In this particular case, I want to talk with you about one of the mistakes I would see firms make time and time again and that’s letting HR do the reference checks.

“What do you mean?”

The idea’s very simply. When HR checks references, they’re working off a form; there’s a basic checklist of things that they want to cover including the ever popular “would you re-hire this person?” How about if hiring manager check references and they called their appear in the other organization? and said, “I just “I’ll use my own name here for the example), “Hi, my name is Jeff Altman, I’m a VP of technology for so and so firm. I want to check a reference with you about a former subordinate and get your impressions of her. Do you have a few minutes?”


Then, you start going through some of the same questions, but you have the capacity to dig deeper about what their strengths are, where the challenges were, how to better manage them, where they struggled with managing them, things along those lines, because there’s a peer relationship that exists. That person doesn’t want to screw the other person.

So, understand, it’s not about the competence that I am bringing to attention. It’s about the pure a relationship that exists with one officer of a firm calling another, one manager of an organization calling another and the respect that is engendered by doing this.  Yes, it takes a little bit more time. And it’s important to always leave a message with your name and number and when you can be reached, because the likelihood is, you’re not going to get them on the first call, right?

But the idea is, instead of HR doing reference checks and getting mediocre responses, and then being surprised when the person comes on board, and isn’t that wonderful individual that HR has heard about, you get something less,, I want to head that off. You checking references as a hiring manager is going to be much more effective.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

Are you interested in my coaching you? Connect with me on LinkedIn and, once we are connected, message me. If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

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No BS Hiring Advice
No BS Hiring Advice

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

Connect with Me on LinkedIn

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