No, I’m not heading down to my local footie pitch with a whistle. I’ve been asked to do a reference for a friend of mine who is applying for a rather interesting job that I happen to think is right down his street. So how does one go about producing a blend of hightened sycophancy with just enough “critique” so they don’t think I’m whitewashing the guy?
Advice welcome. Tim, you’re a headhunter. What do you think?
You asked for my professional advice so…
– I’m not absolutely sure how far legislation impacts the taking of references, but I’m aware that there are various conditions surrounding the receiving of negative references, along the lines that you can’t receive such unless they are absolutely objective and professionally measureable. It’s important that you bear that in mind, otherwise a negtive comment could render your reference null and void.
– Don’t write hyperfluating drivvel because people don’t bother to take it in. You need to pick up on the skills, abilities, experience, character, etc of the individual you are writing about in such a way that they might be picking up on the same or similar at an interview. This way, you serve the selection process.
– It’s useful to comment on what, in your personal knowledge of the individual, is their motivation. If they’re a money-driven career person, that kind of approach might be exactly what is or isn’t being looked for.
– Most importantly, remember that the reference is about the individual, not you! Sounds silly, but lots of people end up talking as much about themselves and what they were doing that brought them into contact with the other, rather than focussing on the other.