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Hiring Resumes Reference Checking Screening Applicants

We are running an ad, and my boss said I should eliminate all the resumes that do not include names of references. He said that leaving them off means that the person has something to hide. I've never heard of such a thing. Is it true?

It is rather scary to think that an individual with your boss's beliefs about resumes is involved in the hiring process. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that people who do not list references on their resumes have something to hide. In fact, applicants are well-advised not to list references, and your boss would be well-advised to avoid eliminating resumes that lack them.

References should not be contacted until the applicant has been interviewed and there is real interest in obtaining additional data. This means that it is entirely acceptable for a resume to include a statement that reads, "Excellent references available upon request."

Since your boss's knowledge of screening resumes is a little thin, it would not be surprising to find that his interviewing skills could use some upgrading as well. The selection process is critical to an organization's success, and it is a potential legal minefield as well. As a result, your boss sounds like an excellent candidate for additional training in this area.

The irony is that with numerous books and articles advising applicants to omit references from their resumes, there are actually more questions about applicants who include them.

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