In the past two weeks, I have been contacted as many times for reference checks for my former employees. Both are bright energetic people who are doing well and obviously moving up in their careers.

Reference check is a must today. I always conduct them, advise my clients to do so and am always happy to serve as a reference when appropriate.

So, two calls for the same purpose, but what a difference.

Caller #1 reached out asking to set some time aside and called as agreed, sharp. He asked meaningful, intelligent questions and, when appropriate, looked for clarification or elaboration. It was a pleasant conversation for me and a valuable one for the hiring company.

Caller #2 sounded bored out of her mind. She mistook the applicant’s gender and did not know who I was. She had a list of questions, which she read in a monotone voice. Not once did she ask as follow up question or requested elaboration. It was a clerk ticking boxes, nothing more. The questions were as generic and vapid as they get. The ten minutes I spent on the phone with this woman were painfully long for me and of limited use to the hiring company.

Organizations often size people by the tasks they performed, not how they performed it. It would appear that the quality of work, the outcome, is of no consequence.

I have news for them. Result is the only thing that matters. Not the years of service or the size of the team; not the project budget or certifications or schooling. Just that – results.

The people who work for you today, are they more like caller #1 or #2? Do you hire to deliver results or to conform to procedures? I hope I made my point.