Dear Evil HR Lady,
I have several recommendations from co-workers listed on my LinkedIn profile. As I’m currently shopping my resume, I’m assuming that they are being contacted by recruiters to verify employment and dig for any issues. It would explain some of the recent resentment I’m experiencing at work and some non sequiter comments from the people who made recommendations.
This leads me to question the value of a recruiter contacting people at my current employer.
If I want to get rid of a problem employee and a recruiter calls me looking for dirt… I give them a glowing recommendation. Having a problem employee quit to go to another job is much easier than firing them.
But if I have a stellar employee (and will be unlikely to be able to quickly and cheaply find a replacement), I say as little as possible. Falling back on a line like “our corporate policy is to refer employment verification requests to HR” works well enough that I’m not burning a bridge with a recruiter I may one day use.
I don’t bad mouth them (I do believe in karma), but I will withhold any information that could result in my stellar employee finding it easier to get out… at least until I have a couple of options lined up. Then I’ll help them in any way I can.
How much are “informal” reference checks used by recruiters? How much credence are they afforded? Does anyone take into consideration that the easiest way to retain an employee is to bad-mouth them to recruiters (or the converse, the easiest way to get rid of a problem child is to give them a glowing review)?