"Prioritize Blind References"

Reed Hastings

Netflix cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings established his video-streaming company as a leader in corporate culture when his 2009 culture manifesto went viral in the business world. As Netflix became increasingly successful, Hastings grew into a confident and effective chief executive.

The Importance of Reference Checks in Hiring

He spoke about this maturation with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr earlier this month at the investment firm’s CEO workshop. When Doerr asked Hastings about how he hires at Netflix, Hastings said his company’s hiring managers rely on reference checks. It’s an element of the hiring process that he finds shockingly underutilized.


Hasting said every manager should realize that there are plenty of people who can make themselves sound much more impressive than they really are if you spend enough time with them in an interview setting. He recommends using interviews as a “narrowing round” to whittle down a pool of people who caught your interest.


Then take the time to check their references. Hastings said it’s worth checking the references listed on the candidate’s resume, if you keep in mind that those people are aware they’re listed and may have done it as a favor, so they may not be completely forthcoming with you.

Thorough Reference Checking and 'Blind References' in Hiring

It’s why he prioritizes “blind references,” those you must dig up yourself, above all else in the hiring process. He noted that for both kinds, he pushes for a Skype interview, because he’s found someone is more likely to be honest when you can look at them (or there’s a better chance they’ll at least reveal their dishonesty through their body language).


Hastings said at Netflix, the only job candidates he spends time with are the ones who will report directly to him. In those cases, he will spend hours researching candidates to find out who they’re connected with. The process is very much like the job of a reporter or detective. When he finds a potentially valuable blind reference, he’ll contact them and try to gain their trust so that “whatever they’re going to say is just with you, and then if it doesn’t work out you’ve got to find a way that it doesn’t get traced back to you.”


“I’m amazed when I know of people,” Hastings said, who hire someone and “didn’t even try to make a call. I think that the reference checking thing is not as thorough as you would think.”

Elevating Your Hiring Process: The Importance of Thorough Reference Checks Inspired by Reed Hastings

When you’re trying to build effective teams and foster a successful company culture, it’s important to implement rigorous hiring practices that ensure your organization gets the best talent. Inspired by the insights of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, we recommend that you prioritize thorough reference checks in your hiring process.


Hastings emphasizes the critical importance of reference checks and highlights their shocking underutilization in many hiring practices. processes. He recommends going over the references provided by candidates and emphasizes the value of “blind references” that you should actively seek out.


At Creative Staffing, we understand the importance of due diligence in identifying top talent!


We encourage you to use Skype interviews and spend time researching candidates akin to detective work to gain valuable insight into their connections. Incorporating these practices into your recruiting strategy can reduce risk and ensure you inform decisions when involving new team members. We work together to improve your recruiting process and advance your organization’s success.

Join us in creating a dynamic and supportive work environment where collaboration and growth are paramount. Take the first step towards your dream career by partnering with Creative Personnel today!

And remember: Many People many people can make themselves much more impressive than they are!🔍

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