I am back on the market again and applying for roles. One thing I have noticed lately is that the market is tight, in this competition; agents are hungry for new leads, even new names of hiring managers that they can cold call.
Well, I have seen more examples of my topic ever this week by agents in London! Often agents will ask for your references before you interview, sometimes before you have been put forward for a role!
Let me warn you all – Say NO to giving References to Agents!
There should be no reason to be providing an agency with contact details for your references until the on boarding process that you must go through when you have accepted a role.
Be warned – you may receive unsolicited calls from recruiters, pretending to have a role, but they are more interested in finding out the name of the hiring manager at your last position.
This is a form of social engineering, so be wary about calls like this.
Today I got a call from an agent about a role I applied for, without even pretending to go through the usual lies, “I will put you forward for the role, but first I need references etc..”
Today he told me that in the current climate they have a stricter process required for compliance. This is not true – what I told him, was what I suggest you tell them is:
The only time I need to provide references is during on-boarding after I have been offered and accepted a role.
There is no line that an agent can tell me or any promise they can make that will make me give up my reference contact details. There is no way I will run the risk of my references, that are managing directors at investment banks, being hounded by agents with cold calls because I have given up their contact details because an agent promised me that I would be “put forward” for a role.
Even worse would be that if an agent contacted one of my references for a reference on me for a role that I have been only put forward for. This would be career suicide, as if this happens my references may get annoyed, to the point that they may refuse to give me a reference for a real role that I have been offered! The boy who cried wolf indeed!