Employers usually ask for a job reference page (a list of people who can vouch for your skills and qualifications) before they make a hiring choice. That means you need to have a reference page ready so when someone asks for one, you can respond quickly.
While you likely will not know the exact questions a hiring manager plans to ask your references, you can still prepare them for the call. The first thing you should do is tell your references that they are one. While that may seem obvious, it is not always done and the last thing you want to do is have your references be blindsided by the hiring manager's call. Even if you have used certain references in the past, do not just assume they will be available or willing to serve as one again. The best approach? Ask your contacts first before giving their information to the employer.
References are often the last step in the screening process before an employer extends an offer. While every company has a different policy on references, most still ask for them. What a reference says or does not say, can sometimes make the difference between getting an offer or not.
Many employers have instituted formal programs to encourage employees to refer candidates for jobs. It is a way to help ensure they are recruiting top talent for available positions. The assumption is that current employees are uniquely qualified to identify the best candidates since they know the organization's mission and company culture.
A job referral can be the best way to get your resume a close look from the hiring manager. When you are referred for a position and you mention it in your cover letter, you have got a built in recommendation for the job in the first paragraph of your cover letter.
When you provide a list of professional references to an employer, you should include your name at the top of the page. Then list your references, including name, job title, company and contact information, with a space in between each reference. Include at least three professional references, who can attest to your ability to perform the job you are applying for, on your list.
Most employers take a close look at candidates who are referred to them. A referral for a job from a company employee or another connection at the company can help ensure your resume gets a close look.
A prospective employer should ask your permission before contacting your references. This is especially important if you are employed, you do not want to surprise your current employer with a phone call checking your references. It is perfectly acceptable to say that you are not comfortable with your current employer being contacted at the present time. However, do have a list of alternative references available.
Maintaining your reference network with periodic phone calls or notes to get and give updates is important. LinkedIn is an ideal way to keep your network up-to-date online. Have an active network in place because you never know when you might need it.
Let your references know where your job search stands. Tell them who might be calling for a reference. When you get a new job, do not forget to send a thank you note to those who provided you with a reference.
Every time you change employment, make a point of asking for a reference from your supervisor or a co-worker. That way, you can create a file of recommendations from people you may not necessarily be able to track down years later.
Create a document listing your references. The list of references should not be included in your resume. Rather, create a separate reference list on the same paper you used for your resume. Have it ready to give to employers when you interview. Include three or four references, along with their job title, employer and contact information. If the employer asks you to email your references, paste the list into the body of any email letter, rather than sending an attachment.
Be aware that some employers will not provide references. Due to concerns about litigation, they will only provide job title, dates of employment and salary history. If that is the case, be creative and try to find alternative reference writers who are willing to speak to your qualifications.
Do not use someone for a reference unless you have their permission. You need to be sure that you are asking the appropriate people to write a letter of reference or to give you a verbal reference. You also need to know what the reference giver is going to say about you. The best way to approach this is to ask the reference writer if they would mind if you used them as a reference. Then review the type of positions you are applying for with the reference giver, so they can tailor their reference to fit your circumstances.
Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors and colleagues all make good professional references. So do college professors. If you are just starting
in the workforce or if you have not worked in a while you can use character or personal references from people who know your skills and attributes.
☛ Ask for a reference
☛ Company reference Policy
☛ Make a reference list
☛ Request a reference letter
☛ Keep your references up-to-date
☛ Maintain your network
☛ Requesting permission
At some point during your job search, a potential employer will request references. Typically, it will be when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. It is important to be prepared to provide a list of employment references who can attest to the skills and qualifications that you have for the job you are applying for.
Responding to a reference check request can be tricky. Fear of reprisal and lawsuits keep many employers from responding at all. These recommendations will help you respond reasonably to reference checking requests while protecting the legitimate interests of your company and your current employees.
Many companies request that managers send written reference requests to human resources. If the manager's reference is positive, however, you can agree to have the manager provide a verbal reference directly to an employer.
Most employers will want to speak with your former employer. Here are some ways to do some damage control: Call your former employer's human resources department and ask them if they will work with you on drafting a statement that they will use when providing a reference on you.
Another approach is to provide references from other places you have worked. However, they will still probably attempt to contact your last employer. If they do, you run the risk of looking worse if you have not mentioned what happened. In fact, I know of a situation where a job offer was taken back because the new employer found out the person was fired but had not mentioned it.
Your best bet is to match your references to the job for which you are applying. Ideally, there are a number of people who have seen your work. They may be former managers, peers and even colleagues outside the organization. Typically, three references are enough. You should type out their names, companies, titles and phone numbers on a piece of stationary, which also has your name on it (in case the references are separated from your file). Character references such as neighbors, serve little purpose and are less desirable than former employers.
Sure, a reference's answers hold a lot of weight but who the reference is can be just as telling to a hiring manager. If the only references you can provide are your mom, your sister and your best friend, it might raise a red flag with the potential employer.
Most employers would prefer that a job seeker choose a former manager or supervisor as a reference. This is because managers are usually able to deliver a relatively unbiased opinion and are much less likely to be swayed into giving a positive referral if one isn't truly deserved. A manager is also a good pick for a reference because a positive referral from him will hold more weight than one from a co-worker who is similarly ranked. Job seekers should also select references who worked with them for at least a year, have a good understanding of their abilities and can attest to their positive attributes.
After a hiring manager asks the basic questions, she might dig a little deeper into your work performance. Common performance-related questions will cover strengths, areas for improvement, ability to work in a team and biggest accomplishments.
The things employers are asking:
☛ Employment verification.
☛ Workplace performance.
The standard questions a hiring manager will ask are ones related to your employment. The employer will want to verify that you did indeed work with this reference, the dates of your employment and the reference's relationship to you. Employers also want to know why you left. It is very important that their story matches that of the candidate. If the candidate says it was a mutual parting but the reference says they were let go or laid off, there will be a problem. The candidate should always be truthful when asked why they left, as the potential employer will check out their story.
Applicant should have positive, confident answers and show no hesitation.
If this has occurred a positive answer should be planned and practiced. Employers will probe deeper when searching for a very convincing answer.
The job seeker may answer yes or no, but they should be aware that the interviewer will be paying close attention to the answer and evaluating body language.