Interview Tips

Why is it so many recruitment companies do not ask for references?

Asking for a reference is so, so easy to do! So why do the majority of recruitment companies avoid or forget to do it?  Are they scared of what they might hear?

I am always of the opinion that I would rather know, than not know “what the person is really like”, “is their CV 100% correct”, “can they actually do the job for which they have applied”.

I ensure that all the team at Project Resource are trained on the importance of taking references on everyone we represent to our customers, this is basic quality control, you wouldn’t sell a car if you didn’t know the engine would start would you?  We also take references on every person we employ into our business, to ensure we and the interviewee has made the right short and long-term decision. After all, it takes 5 minutes to take a good reference which can save hours of wasted time and money hiring the wrong person.

Of the people I have recruited for Project Resource to work as Recruitment Consultants, that regrettably did not make the grade, or did not make it through the recession, or decided recruitment was not for them, I would say we have only been asked for references on a few occasions.  I know many of these people have gone to work for other recruiters, when in our opinion they should probably have not.  Why did you hire them without taking a reference?  Why take the risk?

It seems like the worst recruiters are recruiters who, when it comes to following best practice for their own business, fail to take such basic steps.  I am proud to say we have a clear interview and recruitment process, which all the interview team follow, we ensure that prior to making any new hire we have documentary evidence to support the hire.  I like to think this is why the team that we have are a great team and positively stand out above other recruiters working for competing recruitment agencies.

Enough of this, I just don’t get it.


  1. I have noticed that more and more references are just becoming acknowledgements that the person worked at the company by HR rather than opinions from the Manager. I find it frustrating but do understand the rationale!

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