How to Get Candidates to Arrange Reference Calls with Bosses

helpful tipsHi, I’m Brad Smart, Founder of Topgrading and frequently referred to as the “World’s Expert on Hiring.” I doubt I really am “the” world expert but I do have the experience to help you hire better – to achieve 80%+ HIGH performers hired. This is the second in a new Beginning Topgraders vlog series on how to hire better.

Two of the biggest problems in hiring are:

  1. candidate dishonesty in their resumes (about 40% of resumes contain lies) and
  2. poor verification of what candidates tell This blog tip is a 40-year proven remedy for candidate dishonesty.

These first two blogs give you quick, easy, but highly effective solutions.

The first tip in this series explained how to get the whole truth from candidates, and that’s to tell them up front that a final step in hiring is for THEM to arrange reference calls with bosses and others YOU want to talk with. Low performers and BSers drop out. Good! So, how then do you actually get them to arrange the reference calls.

Beginning Topgraders Tip #2: How to Get the Whole Truth in Interviews: Just Ask Them!


It’s about that simple. Later in this series I’ll describe the most proven and effective interview techniques, but for now do this: After all your interviews, at the time of a job offer, ask a managerial candidate to arrange reference calls with:

  • all their bosses in the past decade (to confirm outstanding performance)
  • 2 A Player peers (to see how much of a team player the candidate is), and
  • 2 direct reports (to see how effective the candidate’s leadership style is)

Actually, candidates don’t actually “arrange” or schedule calls. They just talk to the people on your list and say, “(name), the person I’d report to would like to talk with you, okay?” Almost all agree so you ask, “When is the best time (hiring manager) can call you and at what number” … and pass that information on to the people who will do the reference calls, usually the hiring manager.

Voila! By using the truth serum and getting candidates to arrange reference calls you have just solved 2 of the biggest problems hiring – candidate dishonesty (candidates with lies in their resume drop out) and poor verification (because you talk to bosses and others.)

Looking for more information on how to hire better? Visit and download the Topgrading 4.0 eGuide.

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