Why HR neglects the reference check request? It is an equally important responsibility of an HR person to respond to the request from another HR person to give feedback about an employee who has recently joined or is about to be selected. At the same time, many HR persons give least importance to such kinds of requests. Let the feedback be good or bad, we have a commitment to let the other hiring person to know about the candidate, his attitudes, his passions etc so that the latter can proceed with his duty. Not giving any feedback just by thinking that we will lose an employee, we are not going to gain anything but we will continue to lose that employee , that he may not be involved in our work since he has already decided not to work with us. Then why should we compel him or why should be a barrier?

I have written the above just to remind the HR fraternities of our commitment, because I had a bitter experience today. I have been trying to get a reference check of an employee ( a candidate to whom I have given offer letter) from his present employer, a paint manufacturing company having their HO at Gurgaon, but the HR (the HR Head, I should say) has been very busy all these days. Unfortunately, the Front Office person has also been instructed not to give the HR person’s telephone to anybody! Here for an outsider like me, an impression is created about the company. If the HR who is expected to be role model for others is so adamant you can imagine the quality of others. You can also imagine that this is the way in which the Hr will react when an employee also calls him for any assistant and that is the reason why employees leave the organisation.

In my organisation, my telephone number is open to all. Anybody can call me at any time, there is nothing preventing the Front Office person sharing my telephone number even to a person whose details are not even disclosed. I think many of you who use to call me and take guidance from me agree that I am available for discussion on HR/Personnel /IR matters at any time barring some instances when I am in official meetings.

I believe that the real professionalism is not on the hierarchical set up but it is in building employee relations. You cannot make your organisation an employee first priority organisation unless you believe that you are approachable.


From India, Kannur
Hi Madhu:
It is really an eye-opening information you have shared in Cite-HR.
I too once neglected the same case, not avoided it, but replied a little late.
May be I should consider your words and follow the same.
Thank you Madhu !!

From India, Pune

Dear Mr. Madhu
It is really an eye opener thread and it is highlighting that HR personnel should not be a biased person and always stand on the correct side. If we help other persons obviously it gives returns for us in any way.
Even I used to instruct my sub-ordinates to quote my mobile number as reference if they apply for any better opportunity. Whenever I receive any call from that organisation, I used to give the correct feedback i.e., his strength, his weakness, his qualification, experience and other relevant data with the new employer. Sometimes I used to advise the new employer about his ability and his excelling field.
If this unbiased culture develops with the HR fraternities then obviously it will create a healthy atmosphere in any organisation.

From India, Kumbakonam
Thanks Madhu sharing this professional ethics. We all should take a pledge to ourself that we will abide by such ethics and promise to ourself on our profession for certain more things .... we shall work out.
Rakesh Kumar Srivastava

From India, Chennai
The main reason why one doesnt get appropriate response to reference request is that many organisations have Psudo Managers and Pseudo HR Professionals. In several Cos HR is looked upon as an "essential evil". I know several small and medium IT firms in the software industry where the HR is headed by an employee with no proper HR exposure and only a total experience of 1 or 2 years.

Another reason may be that the firms themselves may not be sure of their own reputation and they feel that a feedback may "expose" them.

In some cases the Managers may be "too busy" firefighting on a day-to-day basis due to their poor planning and organisational skills and they find no time to respond to our queries. Mr. Madhu has rightly said, "I believe that the real professionalism is not on the hierarchical set up but it is in building employee relations. You cannot make your organisation an employee first priority organisation unless you believe that you are approachable". I fully endorse his view.

Dr. T. Thomas.

From India, Bangalore

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