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No more references on Wall St?

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I was just speaking to a recruiter who told me that many top Wall St firms ahve given up reference checks. They are concerned that the value of the evaluation does not justify the legal risks inherent in the process. Instead they only do a background check. First time I've heard this.

--Mark
Tim Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2004
Posts: 37
Does it mean that one does not have to provide refrees' contacts anymore? Why cant recruiters simply ask for letters of reference instead? Surely, there is no legal risk in reading a letter that address to "Whom it may concern" ?

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I was just speaking to a recruiter who told me that many top Wall St firms ahve given up reference checks. They are concerned that the value of the evaluation does not justify the legal risks inherent in the process. Instead they only do a background check. First time I've heard this.

--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
It does.

A letter is a bigger risk because it's documented. The concern is that a decision to hire/not hire based on a comment may lead to certain types of lawsuits.

--Mark
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19060
    
  40

I don't know about reference checks themselves, but being a reference has been a no-no for years. In the last big company that I worked for, I was explicitly told that the only thing that I was allowed to say during a check was to confirm the employment.

I wasn't allowed to say anything good or bad. IMHO, I thought it was totally stupid. Quite frankly, people are generally references to people they like. How can there be a rule that prevents you from helping out friends?

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Henry Wong:
I don't know about reference checks themselves, but being a reference has been a no-no for years. In the last big company that I worked for, I was explicitly told that the only thing that I was allowed to say during a check was to confirm the employment.

I wasn't allowed to say anything good or bad. IMHO, I thought it was totally stupid. Quite frankly, people are generally references to people they like. How can there be a rule that prevents you from helping out friends?

Henry


This is a common rule. In theory your references wil only be good. In reality, they aren't always so. If a person makes a negative comment, it could be ground for a lawsuit agains the company, so they don't want to risk it. (Don't take my word for it, ask any lawyer.) I know some major companies where they have that policy, however employes there, when asked, often say "Officially, I cannot say anything about him. However, I can give you my personal opinion..." which is not given on behalf of the company. (Not quite black and white, but safer.)

--Mark
Victor Banerjee
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 88
I wonder whether Reference checks really happen or not. I can talk from the Indian context. Many of my previous team members have given my reference. But I haven't got any call as yet from any one to verify their credentials till date.

At the same time, I have given name of my managers as references, but they seem to have not got any calls either.
 
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