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Recruiters checking references?

I did an interview through a 3rd party recruiter today, and he checked my references, is it normal to check references before an interview? Should the recruiter be doing that or the hiring company?

Anon
Thursday, February 05, 2004


Part of the recruiter's "value-add" is screening candidates. Most will probably check references before you interview at a client.

NathanJ
Thursday, February 05, 2004

I've had aggressive recruiters check references before.  Don't know if it's really normal or not ...

Immature programmer
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Could also be digging around for leads

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Second the "digging around for leads".

I had this one @$$hole call me last year. The guy was practically smirking over the phone about perhaps having contracts in hand, but wanted -5- *five* yes, that's FIVE managerial references supplied to him before he would submit me (so he said).

I already had work at the time so I made sport of accusing him of using the call as poorly veiled pretext for gathering business leads.

Never heard back from him.

Trading notes with other contractors, I gather that many times an upfront demand for references is followed by radio silence. That's all they wanted.

And this is REALLY damaging for your own references because your references may become irritated by being barraged by recruiters looking for business. I've head of people losing their references over this issue. And the recruiters laugh it off and could not care less...

Bored Bystander
Thursday, February 05, 2004

You need to be firm with this. You should not provide references until you have an interview, and then only if they are interested in offering you a position.

Of course the recruiter will want to "check your references." It makes it look as if they're actually doing something to earn the money they gouge from you.

However it is not polite to the people who agree to be your referees. Why should they be exposed to four or five sets of phone calls?

Some recruiters will ask far too many questions, because they don't understand the field, or because they're trying to make a good impression with the referee ( so the referee will use them to hire people himself in the future.)

But this is a big impost on your referees, and benefits no-one beside the recruiter.

Inside Job
Thursday, February 05, 2004

One (good) reason for the profound and enduring hatred that experienced techies have for recruiters is the mind game that some play with references.

I agree, don't provide references until you know who the client is. But many times the recruiter will act like they're a commercial division of the CIA and they have an edict from God to vet every submitted candidate by "checking references". And if the candidate refuses they will say that they don't submit without references.

The real problem is that many recruiters lie in the ordinary course of doing their job.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, February 05, 2004

I've noticed a big problem with lieing especially from recruiters.

In fact, I noticed a local job board was filling up with "jobs" that were being posted by this one recruiting firm.  I emailed them and asked them to stop posting the "fake" jobs just to collect resumes.  They emailed me back and said I wasn't on their "list" and that I should send them my resume.  Talk about bold.  It's been a month and they haven't posted a single job on the board. 

Recruiters are the scum of the earth.

Can someone point me to an honest, trustworthy recruiter that has a tad bit of integrity.  I'm sure it would be a difficult task as their very job is lieing in order to make a dollar.

I personally will never deal with recruiters again.  Never.

Pixelizer
Thursday, February 05, 2004

One thing I haven't investigated is whether its allowable in law (in the UK) to pass on the personal details of a referee to a recruiter because of the Data Protection Act. 

This law means that someone has to agree beforehand to their details (whatever details they are), to be given or used.  Agreeing to be a referee for someone is not a carte blanche agreement for recruitment agencies to ring them up, its a specific permission in the process of a prospective employer hiring someone.

Simon Lucy
Friday, February 06, 2004


For a trustworthy recruiter try looking at smaller consulting firms led by former consultants. I've had good success with those types of firms. Larger firms with multiple branch offices don't seem that great to me. One warning sign to me is that the firm makes you fill out a multi-page employment application.

I don't have a problem providing references after I talk to the recruiter face-to-face. I only work with 3-4 recruiters at a time. If you spam your resume to every recruiter in town then expect to run into a few bad apples!

NathanJ
Friday, February 06, 2004

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