I once called a supervisor for a reference check on a prospective employee I was considering for hire. I identified myself, the purpose for the call, and the person about whom I was inquiring. There was a brief moment of silence on the line, and then the supervisor stated, "Oh yeah, he's average or better."
Huh? Average or better? "Tepid" is the best word I could think of to describe that reference.
No, I didn't hire that candidate. Nor would I hire any candidate that got the same sort of tepid reference. "Average or better" players are NOT the kind of folks I want to add to my/our team.
To get better, we need better. Significantly better. Keep lookin'.