Don’t Trust Candidates, Trust Their Colleagues


Think references never say something negative about a colleague or you for that matter? Think again.

In a survey, one of our questions states, “If you were asked by a colleague to participate in a confidential online reference check, where you are asked to review your colleague’s performance, how truthful would you be?” We received 742 responses representing a national sample in the US. 2/3’s expressed they would be “Very truthful – I’d give a honest review, not just positive feedback while 1/3rd said “Somewhat truthful—I’d give a pretty honest review but slightly positive to support my colleague”. Only 1% would say only positive statements, even if they were untrue.

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Don’t believe the survey? Here are some real responses we collected:

  • "Drinking habit”
  • “Attitude towards management and supervisors”
  • “Anger outbursts, critical and disrespectful of coworkers”
  • “We hired her and fired her twice. She was not punctual or reliable”
  • “Patient safety”
  • “Hard time putting her patients’ needs before her own”
  • “Issues with communication with patients, staff and faculty”
  • “Always tried to leave early”

The notion that associates will always lie to provide positive feedback in a reference check is simply false.

Read more examples of actual candidate feedback here.

About The Author

Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog.