As people make purchasing choices in the consumer economy, surfers on the internet are looking for social proof that they are making the right decision. Long gone have the impulse purchases following window shopping, and in comes the parcel drop on the doorstep ready for returns should an item of clothing not fit.
TripAdvisor for holidays, AutoExpress for cars and OpenTable for restaurants. How a product or service is rated has a bearing on its future success and consumer confidence in a brand.
So why is it when it comes to employee references this is harder to achieve. Yes, you can get testimonials and endorsements on LinkedIn but the traditional reference these days is a poor state of affairs. What people say about you when you are gone matters!
I’m not saying that you can’t get a carefully written reference from an excellent boss. But the typical corporate procedure of simply confirming that a member of staff did work at a company historically is ripe for disruption because it is not longer adequate.
There must be a better way. What you will be remembered for and your personal reputation is what matters. Now we can get into what you should and should not post on social media to ensure you have a professional reputation online but that is for another article. What I want to focus on is how you can leverage your personal connections, your integrity and past accomplishments for career success.
Just as a consumer wants social proof that their holiday package is a good choice, prospective employers want to validate that they are taking the right bet on a candidate they are hiring. This is important because hiring is not a zero sum game and nobody has a 100% hiring success track record.
From the employers perspective, they do not like it when candidates get references falsified by friends or referees that are not senior enough to substantiate a reference. I’m not saying character references are invalid but quite often when employers burn bridges with companies they often seek references from their friends at a company and not the official management. Quite often these non management references are not checked and are taken at face value. Ultimately this means companies are taking on risks which they need not take on.
If someone we trust makes a recommendation we often make purchasing decisions on this basis. For most businesses wages are their biggest spend annually so ensuring recommendations are authentic is paramount to success.
What if you could not just read the reference but actually hear the person’s words? How would this help your business with time to hire and quality of hire metrics, which drives your future growth. You could also research the credential of a referee and validate their positions and current place of work.
Audio testimonials is not rocket science but, until now, has not been done at scale. However it is quicker for a person to give a reference with their voice notes and this recording can be leveraged by both candidates and employees whilst satisfying company compliance and quality controls.
The truth is saying something complementary about someone not only helps a person’s career but makes us feel good. Whether it’s a nice word said by your University lecturer or a word of backing from a former line manager. Positive reviews are good for our self esteem and our confidence. Add audio to your professional reviews and a higher level of authenticity is reached.
We are not there yet but we will come to a point where reference requests are not made by your future employer but are downloaded from your online credentials. Employers will be able to review not only your competency and certification credentials but also what others say about you.
And the punchline is the nicer you are to people, the more likeable you are, the more you give then the more you will receive in positive reviews. In turn, this will allow you to fulfil your potential and your career aspirations.
You can learn more about audio profiles and audio testimonials by signing up for free at SoundBranch.com
Sean Gilligan is a UK based entrepreneur and author of the book “Flexible”. Sean for the last 15 years has run Webanywhere in Chicago, Leeds and Katowice Poland. Sean is number 67 in the Worldwide Listing of Corporate Learning Movers & Shakers 2018. Sean is a bootstrapper and has not taken on outside capital to grow Webanywhere in 3 countries and has recently founded Ventures Anywhere his start up arm which includes Sound Branch.