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Politically correct references

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 10 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1613
  1. Peter V Scott, consultant anaesthetist
  1. Redditch

    In my day we were not stupid enough to suppose that references were the key to getting a hospital consultant job. They were just one more worry. Given a fair wind at interview we knew perfectly well that telephone calls would long ago have been made, discussions at the 19th hole would have taken place, and the chosen candidate's on-call roster would be into the third draft. We knew, too, that references for the also rans would have been taken up, made available to the advisory appointments committee, and read out, or better still read—all of them—after the interviews but before crunch time.

    References do not seem to mean what they used to mean

    References (and the choice of referees) were important. Without them the appointments committee could rely only on candidates' opinions of themselves from self serving curricula vitae or from self confident interviews. Some doctors who excel at their job do not always excel at interview; a referee can say that. References gave honest …

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