Topgrading Candidate-Arranged Reference Calls

Confirm Patterns of Performance

A powerful tool in the Topgrading methodology is the final step in the hiring process: Candidate-arranged reference calls.

While candidate-arranged reference calls are done at the end of the process, they should not come as a surprise. They already will have been mentioned several times during the process – including at the very beginning – you also should include it on your website’s career/jobs page – and re-state it during every step leading up to the final interview.

How it works:

Candidate-arranged reference calls should be announced at all stages of the hiring process. Why? Because over the decades the promotion of Candidate-arranged reference calls has been proven to both:

  • Eliminate low performers – they know that their former managers will not label them as an A Player; and
  • Confirm to high performers that they’ll be joining a company with a culture of top performance – they’ll be thrilled that you’re going to speak with their former managers who will sing their praises.

At the end of the process, the tandem interviewers will choose which references they want to reach out to after the final interview. High performers will provide the necessary contact info and interviewers will call the references. Once the calls are complete, and the references have confirmed the performance information provided by the candidates, the team will compare notes and make any final offer decisions.

Candidate-arranged reference calls provide multiple advantages, such as:

  • Employee development – calls provide candid insights and can be used to help employees move smoothly into their next job.
  • Verification – discussions with former managers and others will add credibility to the information provided throughout the hiring process.
  • Ease – it can be difficult for hiring managers to get former supervisors and others to talk, but high performers consistently arrange for those personal discussions.

Learn more with our blog on How to Get Candidates to Arrange Reference Calls with their Managers.

The Topgrading Process

Topgrading Job Scorecard - A list of measurable accountabilities, core values, and behavioral competencies that describe how a person is performing in their role.

Topgrading Interview -  the signature Topgrading Interview accurately identifies patterns of strength, weakness, habit, values, and performance of job candidates.

Candidate Arranged Reference Calls - Candidates know in advance that they will be asked to arrange reference calls with recent managers and often a couple of peers and direct reports.

Candidate Analysis - A uniform, rigorous analysis and an accurate conclusion as to whether a candidate will be high-performing addition to the team.

Why Topgrading?

When candidates know reference call is a requirement from the beginning, they will either be organically deterred or attracted to the position. This is an efficient way to sort low performers (who usually drop out of the race) and high performers (those excited by the thought of their former bosses singing their praise).

Talk to an advisor to see how Topgrading can help you in your candidate selection process.

Our assessments help clients get critical hires right over 90% of the time.


Improve your hiring success with Topgrading. The Topgrading methodology will transform your hiring process by increasing the number of A player hires and decreasing the number of mis-hires. Our leadership and candidate assessment tools will help you assess, hire, retain, and grow high performing teams. Contact us to learn more about the Topgrading approach to hiring and start achieving better hiring results now!

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