First off, I laughed at Hamish and Andy’s radio prank too. James Lord is no doubt a top bloke in his own right. But this ‘best bloke in Australia’, could be a potential employer’s nightmare. Now, firstly, James was asked to provide a reference in his capacity as a personal referee, so it’s not quite as much of an issue as if he was asked to ‘fake’ a professional reference. But what it does do, is highlight how difficult it is to obtain a professional job reference, as we all know they can be ‘faked’. I am a huge fan of the reference.
You can do all the interviews in the world or psych test them up the wazoo, but the reference is where you really get to find out how the person operates in the workplace. It’s not the candidate telling you how fabulous they think they are, or a test pointing out how they might react in a situation – it’s an opportunity to find out what the person is ACTUALLY like on the job. So if (and sometimes when) they are faked, it completely undermines our faith in them. How on earth is a future employer supposed to know what you are like if they can’t trust anything that is told to them? Here is a word of warning for anyone who agrees to be a fake referee for a mate: It’s Illegal. Like seriously, if you provide a fake employment reference for someone and the reference is found to be untrue, the company that hired your mate can take legal action against you.
And there are a number of them who are completely happy and willing to drag you through the courts as far as they can take you. So if you are loaded with money and want the excitement of turning up to court and having your name dragged through the mud, then go ahead do ‘fake’ a reference. In the meantime, the cynics amongst us will do things the right way…we won’t call a referee on a mobile device, we will go through the company switchboard and if we even doubt for a minute that the referee is real or not, we will also verify the employment relationship with HR.
We have also found people out by checking Linked In and following up on that too. And if you are a candidate and we find out you have nominated a false referee – we will withdraw all applications you have made and will not work with you again. Just saying.