Service idea: an easier way to provide references or recommendations

Posted on Jan 30, 2020

As a consultant/freelancer/contractor changing projects every 3-6 months, it can be time consuming and tiresome to provide references and recommendations for past work. Don’t get me wrong, everyone i’ve worked with has great things to say about me 😏. Some places insist on 2-3 years work history. This could add up to collecting 12 references for my next roles. 

The challenge

The challenge is finding someone that still works in the company to provide the details the new agency wants. The wants vary too. Some places want references from the HR department, some want references from hiring managers. There is little consistency in what is being requested and the amount of detail requested. If a reference doesn’t come through in the time needed, this could lead to a delay in getting a contract and starting the next project. 

Why Linkedin isn’t quite right

Although linkedin has the recommendation feature, it doesn’t quite do enough.

Linkedin doesn’t show the relationship to the person who recommended you when they worked with you. I.e. the head of the X department when you both worked at Y company. Instead it updates to show the current role of the person recommending you. Someone you worked with 2 years ago at company ABC, might now be working in a completely different role at company DEF.

The HR person you were in contact with might no longer work at the company, so the contact details you have for them will be dead. You could forward on the email address info@companyname to the new company trying to secure you, but it’ll be pot luck whether or not you get a reply.

Opportunity

If there was a way to give a recruiter or HR department access to your references that were collected once, then it would do away with the need to collect references each and every time someone changed jobs. 

I imagine this service to be a bit like the View Driving Licence information service, where you can share your information with hire companies before renting a car.

The information would be updated each time a job has been completed. The prospective hire would then be able to allow access to the information to new employers for a time period, or use a one time only code.

The people inputting the reference data would need to be verified as working for the company and in that position. This could be done using their work email address and a Linkedin API to link the two together.

Providing references is just harder than it needs to be, especially for freelancers and contractors. A service that makes this easier would be very welcome. If anyone wants to help me build it, I’m all ears 😉