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Weigh In: Professional and Personal References

Originally posted: January 22, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I recently had a discussion with a colleague about the potential danger of employees providing recommendations (references) to former colleagues on LinkedIn.  There are certainly pros and cons of doing so.  In many cases, this may even go against company policy about not providing references at all.

Requesting professional and personal references is part of the hiring process in most organizations.  I’m wondering why?  One benefit is that the company will be able to confirm some of the information on the resume or shared during the interview.  But, isn’t the potential hire only going to give you references who will speak favorably on their behalf?  Is that still valuable?

Here are my questions for you:

  • Should companies ask for references?
  • As an employer, what information do you hope to gain by checking the candidates references?
  • What are the pros/ cons of being a reference for someone?
  • Where do you stand on providing recommendations in LinkedIn?  Is this different than providing a reference for someone interviewing for a job?

Let me know in the comments.  I’m anxious to see what you think.

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