Friday, November 11, 2011

LinkedIn -- The Reference Checker's Friend

Businesses that sell mostly or exclusively to other businesses have found low return in most social media investments. The exception, in my view, is LinkedIn -- the social media site for businesses and professionals. It's not uncommon for people to use LinkedIn in one way it was intended -- to get a "warm" introduction by a mutual acquaintance to someone or some prospect you're trying to reach.

There's another use, however, that I've been amazed by. Use LinkedIn as a stealth reference checker. Here are a couple of ways I've done so:
  1. I was recently helping a client screen some resumes for a key management position. We got down to one of the front-runners, and I said, "Let's have a look at this guy on the web." Google popped his LinkedIn profile, and would you believe a friend of mine was a mutual connection (knew both of us)?  I called him up, told him who we were considering, described the job opening, and said, "How do you think he would do in that role?"
    Long pause. Then he said, "Well." Another long pause. "I really can't divulge inside information from his previous employer."  Long pause (mine).  "Wow", I said, "Thanks so much -- I completely understand, and thanks for saving another business owner a whole lot of time."
    I consider this one to have been a bullet dodged.
  2. Third Party References -- Search LinkedIn for other employees of a candidate's previous company. Call them and see what they'll tell you about the candidate, if they happened to be there at the same time. These aren't the hand-picked references a candidate might give, but rather people who in most cases have no reason not to be honest with you.
If you have some other ideas on how to use LinkedIn for recruiting or reference checking, please click "Comments" below and share them with others.  

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it 

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