There must be a fair amount of movement in the construction job market as I have had over a dozen requests to provide references in the last couple of weeks. I do not have an issue with providing them, but I like to be forewarned by the candidate they have given my details as a potential referee.

Usually the reference request is from a recruitment agency and they have a set list of questions. But to me, the most important one is would I employ the candidate myself. I might not particularly like the person but if they have the ability, experience and willingness to be a key team player, then no problem. I never want to hinder someone’s search for employment but if I am unaware they are looking, and give me the opportunity to give them some straight advice, the reference they get might not be what they are expecting. Last week I was asked my opinion on a candidate who had not let me know their intentions and the role they had applied for was completely beyond their capability. They did not make it to interview and I would have told them they were aiming too high.

References are usually sought from someone who the candidate reported to. If I was asked to provide a reference for myself I would do it in reverse. That is I would offer the insight from someone who I had hired and reported to me, from cadet to project manager it makes no difference. Potential employers would not appreciate this tactic but if I were hiring, I would gain valuable insight in speaking candidly to a candidates’ direct reports. They have worked closely with the candidate and know them probably better than anyone. This might give some of my previous hires great satisfaction as sticking pins in effigies of me seems like hard work!

Published by

Gerry Keating

Construction Professional

One thought on “References”

  1. Good article Gerry.

    Agree 100% about the person seeking the reference always asking permission.

    I have always (when dealing with Project Manager /Commercial Manager candidates and above) sought to get a reference from a direct report, especially as a high proportion of their role will be management of a team or teams. I think it is a very important step of hiring senior level staff and could have potentially prevented a few disastrous hires I’ve heard about.

    Hope you are well,



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