My name is Mark Goodfield and I am a tax partner and the managing partner of Cunningham LLP in Toronto. This blog is about income tax, business, the psychology of money and investing topics and is meant for taxpayers no matter their income bracket, but in particular for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs who own private corporations. I also blog about whatever else crosses my mind; I have to entertain myself. This is my personal blog and the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the position of Cunningham LLP. I am blunt and opinionated (at least for a Chartered Professional Accountant). You've been warned.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature and should not be considered specific advice, as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wasting References

Yesterday, I wrote about what I feel is a no-win situation in terms of the legalities of providing a positive or negative reference for a former employee. Today, I just have a brief follow up on how potential employees and employers burn references unnecessarily.

Employees must understand that the person providing the reference is doing them a favour and taking time from their busy schedule to provide this reference. While in most cases they are happy to assist the friend or ex-employee find a new job, they do not want to be called by eight different potential employers over a span of two weeks.
It is thus incumbent upon employees to try and mitigate or control the use of their references until they are a finalist for a job they are serious about.
I realize that this is often beyond the employee’s control, but they need to understand that each time they request a reference from the same person; they are using up a limited amount of goodwill. Although you should always thank your reference sources for helping you in your search for a new job, it would also be prudent to thank, apologize and warn them when you think the potential employer may have wasted a call early in the hiring process. I think such a call would provide some goodwill credit, as you are showing respect for your reference’s time, even if the potential employer did not.

On the flip-side, employers need to respect both the employee and the reference to a greater extent. If an employer is nowhere near a decision, why call a reference? You are wasting the reference’s time and using up the employee’s goodwill unnecessarily. In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason to call references until you have narrowed your group of job applicants down to just a few finalists.

Bloggers Note: A reader sent me this Dilbert comic strip link on references after reading yesterdays blog post. I think it is "bang on" the point being made yesterday and quite funny. Thanks to the reader.