Reference Checking

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H.O.P
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Reference Checking

Post by H.O.P » 22 Sep 2018, 10:39

Sebastian wrote:
22 Sep 2018, 08:17
I worked with UNV in the past and I think they are really trying to do amazing things! I know sometimes that the process might seem longish - and then of course the nature of the volunteer flow is, that many folks are involved... Anyways, I fully understand that this is not very easy to follow from the outside (and often times not easy to follow from the inside either!).

If you want, let's open a separate topic on references - the dos, don'ts etc. I'm happy to contribute there, too.

But most importantly: all the best and good luck with your processes - I hope they will resolve themselves positively. After two weeks, I think it is ok to follow up...
Yes, that will surely be more helpful. Thank you.

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Sebastian
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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Sebastian » 23 Sep 2018, 08:49

Alright, let's collect a few practices around reference checking in this thread here. A few considerations to start with: Typically the point of checking references is at the last step in the recruitment process (before a process review and contract issuance). At this time, you can't "win" the process but you could potentially "lose" the process.
I think the overall idea in UN recruitments is that you need to prove yourself by mastering tests, interviews, case studies etc. But of course there are certain things that you could not check in such a process. So in my mind the reference checking process is mainly to check that there are no red-flags that need to be investigated further. This is not just theory: the UN of course needs to protect itself from folks that don't mean well and the SG himself is driving the focus very clearly, too.

So what does this all mean for references? There are two ways references are collected: verbally and with a form. Make sure you provide names of folks that can be reached and people that know about your professionalism and conduct. I think it is ok to give references that are not your current supervisor but be prepared that sometimes they want to talk to your current supervisor, too. However, they would of course understand what this means to your current job, so I think there is a notion to be flexible/sensible in this regard.

What are your experiences out there? What references were you asked to provide? What did people say?
I'm Sebastian from the UN Job List. I know about the UN Job List and also a little about the UN in general.

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Pman » 23 Sep 2018, 15:43

Thanks Mr. Sabastian for making this a topic for discourse. I keep wondering does the UN take into account the quality of a referee and by 'quality' I mean the seniority level of a supervisor providing reference for a candidate. My assumption is this, a candidate might have a supervisor who is not too knowledgeable in a particular field but at the end gives a fantastic report while another at a very senior level might decide to give an average report to a supervisee possibly because of his exposure and experience level. I know this happens but how does the UN take into account of such case?

Secondly, do all recommended candidate get their education certificates checked at the point of checking with their supervisor?

Thirdly, what happens to a top candidate who gets a not-too-good report from 2 out of 3 previous/current supervisors?

Lastly, typically how long does it take to get a feedback (+ve or -ve )after reference check by the UN

Thanks in advance

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Sebastian » 23 Sep 2018, 20:27

Pman wrote:
23 Sep 2018, 15:43
Thanks Mr. Sabastian for making this a topic for discourse. I keep wondering does the UN take into account the quality of a referee and by 'quality' I mean the seniority level of a supervisor providing reference for a candidate. My assumption is this, a candidate might have a supervisor who is not too knowledgeable in a particular field but at the end gives a fantastic report while another at a very senior level might decide to give an average report to a supervisee possibly because of his exposure and experience level. I know this happens but how does the UN take into account of such case?
References are typically to check how team work, work ethics, UN values, collaboration etc. has worked in the past and don't typically query technical skills. So the seniority of a supervisor is less important than the ability to say something meaningful about who you are.

Having said this, it is always better to use somebody that has a respected professional standing over - say - your football coach.
Secondly, do all recommended candidate get their education certificates checked at the point of checking with their supervisor?
Let's discuss this more: I think there are different experiences out there. Sometimes yes, sometimes no...
Thirdly, what happens to a top candidate who gets a not-too-good report from 2 out of 3 previous/current supervisors?
Also this is worth a discussion. A bad reference itself is not the end of the world. But it depends on what kind of feedback and by how many folks the feedback is. Don't think the hiring managers are naive: they assume you put your best references forward. If they just check with a random supervisor they understand that sometimes the team dynamics are not perfect. Personally, if I hear "I never liked the guy" I don't care too much. That kind of thing happens. But if I hear "the person had integrity challenges" I would like to understand more and get a sense for what was going on...
Lastly, typically how long does it take to get a feedback (+ve or -ve )after reference check by the UN
That's really hard to say. Shortest I have seen is a few hours. Longest I have heard of is years...
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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Anja » 23 Sep 2018, 21:38

When is a reference too old to be given? Can I give my boss from 10 years ago?

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Sebastian » 24 Sep 2018, 10:39

Anja wrote:
23 Sep 2018, 21:38
When is a reference too old to be given? Can I give my boss from 10 years ago?
I would say 10 years is a bit on the longer side. But it depends on the situation: if you had a supervisor for 10 years, of course the previous supervisor is still relevant. Of course what would be suspicious is, if you have many "old" references but then a number of recent years where there is no reference available at all.
I'm Sebastian from the UN Job List. I know about the UN Job List and also a little about the UN in general.

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by NevKen » 24 Sep 2018, 11:19

Sebastian wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 10:39
Anja wrote:
23 Sep 2018, 21:38
When is a reference too old to be given? Can I give my boss from 10 years ago?
I would say 10 years is a bit on the longer side. But it depends on the situation: if you had a supervisor for 10 years, of course the previous supervisor is still relevant. Of course what would be suspicious is, if you have many "old" references but then a number of recent years where there is no reference available at all.
Interesting topic as many candidates reach to the point after a hectic battle/race/time/effort to secure a position (I would call it a turning point) where everything is done and a reference checks (of any kind) makes your fate (by people who know you). Their words (good bad ugly) are their own assessments (in organizations where the process is normal and documented) and perception about an employee, colleague etc (that is in no way official or documented in relevance to the assignments they handled).

I wish to explore this in detail since UN is an Organization with Systems/protocols/code of ethics in-place for every single being working there (isn't there a chance the system you are living in, you start expecting newcomers have the same resources).

Whereas candidates may have comparable/eligible experiences of working in such structured organizations as well as in organizations where personal assessments by the one himself and or assessments by one's superior are documented. (her whatever the UN wants to know will get what is documented plus a personal word or two from the referee).

Also candidates may not have worked in such organizations but their experience is still recognized, hence there is no record of any sort of assessment in their personnel file. Here your supervisors, managers, CEOs have to say as they perceive about you (this may not always reflect to what actually a candidate is capable of; in many instances a supervisor is nothing more than a pain in a butt for his subordinates regardless of the type of professional organization and its size.

What in case of professional associates/acquaintances/major clients as a referees (aren't they far more reliable as they are not protecting the image of the company where applicant was working, but they are the end results of candidates performance and their word may value more)

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Ndechitu » 24 Sep 2018, 16:09

After getting a letter of offer today, the HR Office has requested for an employment record from my last employer. Is this the same as requesting for a letter of recommendation from my current employer?

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by NevKen » 24 Sep 2018, 16:25

Ndechitu wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 16:09
After getting a letter of offer today, the HR Office has requested for an employment record from my last employer. Is this the same as requesting for a letter of recommendation from my current employer?
I do not know anything about your 'last employer' but if I understand from what you said, I can say that the HR want to verify the times you spent with your last employer to what you have mentioned in your PHP (calculation of number of years/months/days - may be to see if they keep things on merit among other applicants).

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Re: Reference Checking

Post by Ndechitu » 24 Sep 2018, 16:50

NevKen wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 16:25
Ndechitu wrote:
24 Sep 2018, 16:09
After getting a letter of offer today, the HR Office has requested for an employment record from my last employer. Is this the same as requesting for a letter of recommendation from my current employer?
I do not know anything about your 'last employer' but if I understand from what you said, I can say that the HR want to verify the times you spent with your last employer to what you have mentioned in your PHP (calculation of number of years/months/days - may be to see if they keep things on merit among other applicants).
Hello NevKen,

So I spent 8 years with the previous employer and now 10 months with my current employer. Is it better to request for letters of recommendation from both?

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