As we are nearing the end of the interview process, a client asked me to get references from a candidate. I was blown away when the candidate emailed me and refused to supply references telling me that she did not want her references bothered until she had accepted the job. First time this has happened in 27 years.
Now I have had a candidate who had a key reference at an existing company, but other references at previous employers and I made an offer pending the last reference, but this is the first time a candidate ever told me point blank no references. I could have been pushed over with a feather. I explained that she was putting herself at great peril for this job which she claimed she very much wanted. I also explained that people don't mind giving references and that I was sure it would be no bother. She asked me to have the entire offer completely negotiated and if she still wanted the job she would provide references. I then explained that the enthusiasm of her references could conceivably affect the offer. She still refused.
Has anyone ever had this experience? For the first time in my recruiting career, I am dumfounded.