Buddy Ed Sim just posted a useful note on the Importance of back channel reference checks. The person you are looking at hiring, or take money from, will volunteer contacts who will provide glowing reports about her/him. In order to get a more nuanced view (nobody’s perfect), you do want to find other references in or through your own network. Former colleagues are obviously the most natural sources, and in the case of a senior startup executive, former investors also fit the bill. Services helping with these “investigations” are obviously search engines, specialized databases like Zoominfo (which has an uneven quality of data and coverage) and LinkedIn (that has even developed a specific feature for that purpose).
As Ed states, it is critical to do a thorough job when going through these references, because like software bugs, fixing a mistake costs way more than avoiding one:
A wrong hiring decision for an early … Read more »