We’re waiting…References and…

We’re waiting…Now what?

Social distancing was a phrase that most of us would have had a hard time defining just two weeks ago. Now, it’s on the tips of our tongues and we’re even doing the elbow bump! Moreover, with the mandated closures of many restaurants and taverns, we’re all beginning to experience another form of distancing- and that’s greater distances between our customer’s orders and especially payments for past shipments.

While not of the contagious variety, those two maladies are especially hazardous to the health of our businesses. But the fact is operators who’re shuttered don’t need much in the way of sanitation supplies and if they’re not open, there may not be anybody around to write those much-needed checks. Moreover, they may not have the liquidity (that’s cash on hand for those of us who speak regular English) to even write them if they wanted to!

The sad fact is that for many of us, we have little choice but to concentrate on servicing our health care customers and those lodging operations that are still up and running. That activity aside, we’re mostly marking time and hoping that the Coronavirus storm clouds will soon pass. In the meantime, this may be the time to chill as best we all can and let our shuttered customers know that we’ll be there when they reopen and once again need our help.

These are indeed unusual times but as we’ve experienced in the past decade with H1N1 (Swine flu) MERS and SARS, this too shall pass. Let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

References and…How to check ‘em

So, you’ve decided that actually checking those references just might make sense, but you’re wondering what you’ll be asking and just how to approach it. Well, first it’s not an inquisition. It’s a friendly investigation. And the best way to elicit good information is to be low-key and above all, friendly.

That begins with your opening that might go something like: “Hi, my name is John Jones and I’ve been meeting with Harry Smith – who I understand is a good friend of yours.  I hope to offer him a position with our company, but I need a bit of background information – that will, of course, be strictly held between us. Is that something you might be able to help me with?”  Note we’re not opening with anything beyond a simple request for help and an assurance of absolute anonymity and confidentiality.

Chances are the reference will ask you what sort of information you might need and with that opening, you’re on the way with the most simple (and least intimidating) opener which is, “Well I guess for starters, how long have you known Harry?” From there, hopefully, the path is open and you’ll be able to progressively delve deeper into assessing the fit of Harry on your team and importantly, confirming he possesses those all-important will-do qualities.

Next up: Training that new team member.