Toxic Tenures, Part 2

In this five part series I look at toxic tenures – appointing senior managers that are just not right for your business.

In part one I talked about pre-hiring and mentioned pre-employment profiling.

#2 Reference Checks
Reference checks are a part of a standard HR battery  of assessment. The person you are considering for the role will no doubt look and sound fantastic. And you may be excited at on boarding them. Usually they have made you feel that you are acquiring some serious talent.

But don’t be in a rush to hire. Do your standard reference checks.

I worked with a client recently who had hired a senior team leader that was a walking nightmare for three years. Upon reflection, we now know that while this person submitted a resume with glowing references, Tom (let’s call him Tom) recalls now that he never actually spoke with anyone that had hired Kevin (another made up name) in the past.

There was always some reason why past employers could not be contacted.

In fact, Tom recalls that Kevin didn’t actually enter the recruitment process via a professional recruitment process but rather through a side door and on reflection he recalls the driver was Kevin who cleverly steered Tom away from doing prudent checks.

Tip: Make sure you actually contact the applicant’s ex-bosses for a personal endorsement or a character reference. For example, “Would you hire this person again?”
Ask how this person messed with the team and how they managed other employees especially juniors. Ask if attrition was noticeably high within their team. Listen out for any warning signs i.e., legal threats, existing legal covenants that prohibits a past employer from giving anything but a ‘vanilla’ reference.

If you are able to talk to ex-team, do so. If no one can be contacted, caution.


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