Picture this: You walk out the door from an interview at your coveted next job and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. You nailed the interview, gave great examples of your experience and successes and even charmed the hiring manager with stories about your backpacking trip through the Himalayas.
The employer has asked you to share your references. You’ve kept up good relationships with these folks and are confident in what they’ll say. You know they can only help your cause.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, what if your prospective employer goes outside your reference pool to other people you’ve worked with in the past? And what if, even though you’ve been an exemplary employee, there’s that one manager you just never clicked with – and that’s who the employer decides to call?
This nightmare scenario is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Thanks (or maybe “no thanks”) to social media and the fact that people job-hop at a much higher rate, it’s easier than ever for a potential employer to independently find and look up any past contact they want. These hidden contacts are called “backdoor references.”