Service idea: an easier way to provide references or recommendations

As a consultant/freelancer/contractor changing projects every 3-12 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 😏. However, some places insist on 2-3 years of work history. This could add up to collecting 12 references for my next roles. 

The challenge

The challenge is finding someone who still works in the company to provide the new agency’s details. The wants vary too. Some places want references from the HR department, and some want references from hiring managers. There is little consistency in what is requested and the amount of detail requested. If a reference doesn’t come through in the time needed, this could delay 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 with 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 person who is recommending you’s current role. Someone you worked with two years ago at company ABC might now be working in a completely different position 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 the email address info@companyname to the new company trying to secure you, but it’ll be potluck whether or not you get a reply.


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

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

View Drivers License service

The reference would update the information each time a job is completed. The prospective hire would then allow new employers to access the data for a specific period or use a one-time-only code.

The people inputting the reference data 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 more challenging than it needs to be, especially for freelancers and contractors. A service that makes this more accessible would be very welcome. I’m all ears if anyone wants to help me design and build it 😉

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