• Destinee Charles

Changing the Standard of References in the Workplace


When was the last time you applied or a job or an internship and were given the opportunity to call the references of the person that would be your supervisor? How often are you openly given this opportunity? And at what point during the hiring process are you given this opportunity? Something that has recently come to mind is how employers request references of candidates applying for open positions. This is their way of making sure the candidate is a great fit for the position not in the sense of work experience but of work style, work ethic, character, leadership, and personality. So, what I found interesting is, at least from my experience, it is not normalized that employers provide references for candidates.


I have recently witnessed individuals who were hired only to realize that their employer that hired them had different motives and was not the best leader or most pleasing to work with. Furthermore, after speaking with them and prior to them resigning from the position, I learned that compared to the employees’ experience, the employer painted a completely different picture of the work environment and their work style during the interview process.


Now this is not to say that all employers, supervisors, or managers are this way, it is simply to say that maybe we should slightly change the system and begin a new standard in the hiring process. Not only should candidates provide references, but employers should as well. Although, this may or not be offered at some point later in the hiring process, I believe this is something that should be offered and mentioned in the job description. This not only shows an employer’s ability and willingness to be transparent but could potentially help minimize conflicts in the future by allowing the candidate to learn about the employer’s personality, work style, and leadership style. Ultimately, this extends their ability to prepare for a position and this new work relationship slightly more ahead of time by hearing it from someone else.


In conclusion, this approach seems like a potential way to increase a candidate’s trust in an employer through heightened upfront transparency. It also helps potential candidates make a decision on whether or not they would like to proceed with the application or interview process. Lastly, both sides will have the opportunity to get an idea of work and leadership styles, work ethic, character, and personality. As a result, it can be a potential way to not only increase an employers’ chances of getting a more fitting candidate but a candidate’s chances of finding a more fitting occupation and work environment. It could also result in a stronger relationship in the long run. Overall, this approach is something that both candidates and employers can benefit from.

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