Most experienced hiring managers have had the experience of
changing their minds about a candidate as a result of
information uncovered from background confirmation. An even
greater number have learned something important about how to get
along with, motivate, or at least not upset, a candidate.
Given the importance and usefulness of reference checks, it is
necessary to consider some of the
more common errors with the practice.
Check Error 1:
It's Just a Formality
After the exciting build-up stages of candidate sourcing,
interviewing, relationship building and closing the compensation
deal, it is easy to see reference checking as an emotional
let-down. In many companies, the important process is demeaned
as an administrative function and delegated to junior staff or
an outsourced service. This is a serious concern when dealing
with management candidates.
It is reasonable that credential verification can be outsourced
or delegated down but reference checks with senior executives to
discuss the performance of senior managers who reported to them
should not be given to junior staff to carry out. It needs to be
conducted personally by the hiring manager or a credible senior
recruiter. In Asia (and most everywhere else), senior managers
consider it is an insult to be contacted by junior people to
discuss confidential personal information about people who
reported to them.
Check Error 2:
The backgrounds of most senior
executives, or at least parts of them, are commonly listed
online on various information services. Securities related
information is very useful since there are legal reasons for it
to be highly precise. Employer websites are also valuable since
candidates' titles and breadth of responsibilities might be
LinkedIn, the social networking
tool, is also useful since profiles are filled out by
professionals themselves. Questions need to be asked if any
information is different from what is listed on resumes provided
Check Error 3:
Relying on LinkedIn Too Much
LinkedIn has become a widely used tool by professionals. Some candidates and recruiters are
starting to dispense with formal CV's and use LinkedIn profiles
as if they were official employment records. This is a mistake
for the simple reason that candidate resumes are considered
legal documents by courts of law while LinkedIn profiles are not.
In other words, if a candidate is hired from information posted
on a LinkedIn profile and that information is later found to be
materially false, the hiring manager will not have legal recourse
to terminate the person's employment without worrying about a
wrongful dismissal lawsuit and a large severance package. On the
other hand, someone caught lying on a resume that they provided
can be dismissed immediately for legal misrepresentation. In the
future online profiles may be considered legally binding but at
this point it is easy for candidates to claim they are not.
Don't be lazy, always require complete resumes from candidates.
Check Error 4:
Subordinates are Not References
It is sometimes difficult for senior candidates to provide
suitable reference contacts especially when they have spent many years
at their current employer. Their reporting relationships are too deep
and personal, and candidates literally risk their careers by
asking for references from their bosses.
To people without experience in Asia, this might seem a bit
melodramatic but it is a common concern for senior executives. As a result,
candidates will provide references from colleagues (managers
they worked with but did not report to), people who reported to
them or sometimes even supplier representatives.
Candidates need to be pushed for
more suitable references. But in many cases, people's concerns
need to be respected or their careers can be impacted. Informal
reference checks (explained below) may need to be acquired
confidentially by a skilled intermediary such as an executive
search professional who is known in the industry.
Check Error 5:
References, Not Fans
Related to the above, it is common in Asia for people who have
worked together to have very close personal relationships. References from such sources will typically yield
information that is flattering to the candidate and not very
useful. It may be necessary for the candidate to be pressed for
more references in order to find people who have arm's length
relationships with candidates.
Check Error 6:
Informal Reference Checking
Senior business communities in Southeast Asia are usually small
and close-knit. Most senior candidates are well known by other
leaders in their industry. Deep information can often be
gathered confidentially by third-party sources such as a
credible executive search professional who is known in the
industry. Executives will open up about people they have worked
with for all manner of subjects. Because of factors described in
the previous 2 paragraphs, informal reference checks can
sometimes yield the most valuable and useful information about
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A global manager's failsafe
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& Management Consulting:
Associates provides its Executive Search and Recruiting services throughout the emerging countries of the Asia Pacific
region with specific focus on Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos.
proactive and well known in our sectors of focus. Regional
Managers use us to help bridge the gap between local environments and
the world-class requirements of multinational corporations.
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CEO Forum presented by PLDT ALPHA Enterprise is the largest
regular business event in Philippines and considered one of the
most important in the Southeast Asia region. The forum serves as a
hub for the spreading of ideas that help executive managers
overseeing enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.
Attendees are both expatriate and Asian management personnel
overseeing multinational and regional organizations. Held in
Philippines, presenters are leaders in their industries and
engaged in momentous pursuits of significance to the entire
CEO Forum is operated as a CSR (Corporate Social
Responsibility) activity of Chalre Associates, one of Southeast
Asia's most prominent senior management executive search firms, to
promote Philippines as a premier business destination in the Asia
Here to go to Asia
CEO Forum now!
CEO Awards presented by Aseana City represents the
grandest alliance of local and international business people ever
created to promote Philippines on the world stage. As one of the
largest events of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, it is
considered a must-attend occasion for business leaders active in
The star-studded Board of Judges of Asia CEO Awards give
away 10 awards to many of the most accomplished leadership teams
and individuals currently operating in Philippines and the region.
The awards recognize extraordinary leaders who have demonstrated
outstanding achievement for their organizations and contributions
As one of the fastest growing nations on the planet, the world's
business leaders have their eyes on Philippines like never before.
The annual gala was established as a natural outgrowth of Asia
CEO Forum, the largest regular networking event for the
business community in Philippines.
to go to Asia
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throughout the world call upon the Principals of Chalre Associates for thought leadership.
Below are some examples of published material written by our
consultants or international journalists who refer to them. For a complete list of published work,
Getting Ready For The
Deluge: Outsourcing in Philippines
Chalre Associates senior staff
Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist magazine
asked Chalre Associates' Chairman, Richard Mills,
to write a chapter about the Philippine outsourcing sector
in its annual Business Guide Book. The material
provides a Executive Briefing on the progress and major
issues facing this industry that is certainly one of most
significant growth stories in the world.
Asia Pacific Mining
Conference 2007 - Report
Chalre Associates senior staff
The 7th Asia Pacific Mining Conference put on by the Asean
Federation of Mining Associations was perhaps the largest
such event in the region. Richard Mills, Chairman of Chalre Associates
gave this report on what was said by the prominent mining
people who presented.
State of BPO in Philippines: Dan Reyes Speaks
Chalre Associates senior staff
Mills, Chairman of Chalre Associates,
interviewed Dan Reyes of Sitel for ComputerWorld (US) recently to get
his views on the state of the BPO industry in Philippines. Dan
presented US readers with compelling information to support his view
that Philippines is currently seen as the "Number 1" option by global
companies sending BPO work to offshore destinations.
Dan Reyes is easily one of most experienced Business Process
Outsourcing (BPO) managers in the Asia Pacific region and the world. He
is head of the extremely successful Philippine operations of Sitel, the
world's largest call center organization. Among other things, he is a
founder and former president of the Business Processing Association of
the Philippines. more