A question posed by a friend of mine, Alice T.M.
“When checking references for a job candidate, what do you think about calling a spouse, parent, or in-law?”
Had me answering in an on-line way of: (Give us your take.)
Lord, with families that can barely handle Thanksgiving you aren’t going to learn about the person for hire at all…you are going to learn an opinion of that person of the moment. If all is well you are going to get an all-too glowing report. Exes (as mentioned above) god Forbid.
I think if you want to know the personal then social media lends plenty to that these days. Also, take them to lunch and watch their treatment of the server, as well as the receptionist in the office. Then a second lunch as a group from the office as people are different one on one than in groups but also might do great with one personality but not another. You get a pretty good sense of reaction.
What my mom, sister, boyfriend think of me or even friend really has no bearing on my capacity for the job or office atmosphere. AND with many people who come from less educated type homes which might not speak or present very well while you do can really have an impact that isn’t fair for a person striving for a different life. These days you might get a family member who doesn’t speak English, or well, or speak like rednecks or whatever and then the hire is judged off of that even if they are incredibly articulate. Have you had a Cajun Louisiana type family member? Do you really want your potential boss trying to understand that over the phone and then judge your possibly not being able to be a speaker for crowds as needed? Not saying it’s bad, just saying it might not fit the job one is going for. And that people judge and are painted another picture.
Now, LAPD and FBI, etc do family background go-overs and interviews but they are looking for particulars- going based off of some of that you could place that into a job interview process. But for the most part you have to really understand what literal profilers and mental health doctors on the panel (it’s usually about 7 people as well and then several panels) are truly looking for since much does not actually disqualify while particular things added up, especially, does. And potential issues are a part of this background panel, while an alcoholic father isn’t going to be something truly judged for as a potential for the same, etc.
I had a boss that did one of those online tests for new hires and they were always wrong. The ones the test graded as excellent ended up stealing or quitting never with notice and soon after hired, while the ones rated as completely unfit ended up being long lasting and very honorable employees.
Speaking to family/friends means politics enter the picture, or sexuality, mental health or a pill they take daily, or things too personal that a boss shouldn’t need to be aware of unless you allow the knowledge. This happened with an owner I worked for with another employee who was HIV and not in a position they needed to disclose the information. They were later fired exactly for it. (Obviously not good for them. And I left upon that information and testified for the employee who was fired.)
Most of my family are hardcore Republicans who would make mention I am sure of the liberal feminist I am. My loving and supportive partner would do his best to say all the right things…without needing to try, because he adores me. Now. If he was an ex that isn’t saying the same would be said. (Thankfully most of my exes still love me and are friends but for one). If a partner didn’t want that particular job due to a move or danger (I recently had a conversation of this of a wife going into LE) they could sabotage the interview. The same could be said for a parent being spoken to. Or a sister who is about to feel the burden on her own to care for aging parents should you move away. Or even a “Since she divorced and is raising two kids she really really needs this job” is exactly what you might hear from a family member. Which won’t exactly help the employer but also could put a stain on the potential employee from that employer. Or even if slipped that a potential is two/three months pregnant. Something simply not the need to disclose (legally especially) but can keep you from not getting the job.
An individual, untrained, and not as in a panel for LAPD/FBI type, won’t be able to cuss these things out. They will only form personal opinion of you.
And again, there is enough social media to be able to do so. now perhaps requesting a look at that if you kept it private…well, another conversation. But rarely are people private enough not to find something out. Including the church they attend or religious views.
As you stated in a comment, this was without their knowledge.
That has entirely other implications and wrong and right from a company or employer. Even your doctor/past bosses are only allowed to say certain things. Your college only allowed to disclose upon your request. Why should family get a free go? And behind your back? Aside from instant distrust that only has many other issues to not work for.