Thursday, January 1, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on References/Reviews

References are very important in business. When you hire an employee you typically ask both for their employment history and references. You ask for this to allow you the opportunity to check out their background in order to see if they are who they proclaim to be and to determine if they have the needed credentials and can be a good fit in your company culture. It allows you informally to determine the persona’s character and work ethic be determining their reputation as well as seeing their ability and desire to grow, learn and take on new and increasing responsibility. 

What is the reason for obtaining this written documentation – simply speaking it is good business sense. You are verifying that this person or company are who and what they claim to be and that they have the ability to the services you as the client or employer need. To quote the Reagan – Trust but verify. 

In any relationship character, honesty, and are important because without trust no relationship will have a working sound frustration. This documentation allows you to compare what is said with what is written and then based solely on imperial observation draw a conclusion. Deceptive practices used in completing the application indicate a person with a potential to deceive and exaggerate for their own personal gain. While a 100% correlation is impossible the higher the verbal to written correlation the higher the tendency of that company and/or is to be honest and forthcoming. Same holds true for people who refuse to document anything – why – to be blunt liars hate documentation and you do not want to higher a liar because you cannot depend on them and typically is someone will lie to you they will also steal from you. 

So, what sort of useful information can you obtain from a person or business’ references, resume or reviews 

  • Work History
  • Performance
  • Character
  • Commitment 
  • Skill sets

Verifying this information with other people via references, referrals and recommendations also allows you to gain insight as to how they are/were perceived. To quote VT website “A resume is a brief, concise document that presents, and effectively sells, your most relevant and positive credentials for employment, admission to graduate school, consideration for a scholarship or fellowship, or other professional purpose.” 

A tool that you can use to help build your business are endorsements.  An endorsement is a testimonial regarding your company’s character, skills and ability. An endorsement can be an effective marketing tool in your advertising arsenal. Another useful tool is the incorporation of your work portfolio of past projects. This allows people to see representative samples of your actual work. 

To summarize, as a business owner it is important that you use the tools available to ensure you obtain the best talent available and that this person fits in your company culture. Additionally it is important that you use these tools to effectively promote your business and remember be honest about your strengths and your weaknesses.

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