While applying for a job position, getting references in place is an often undervalued but important process to follow. Reference checks are critical to enhancing the chances of an applicant, since it provides an objective third party stamp of approval on their candidacy. Even with a successful interview, a poor reference could sabotage your chance of getting the job offer.
People who may come across as high performers or well-adjusted on paper and in an interview could have challenges they would not share on their own in a selection process.
A note to hiring teams who may skip the reference checks to save on time – make the phone call – it is a great way to spot any inconsistencies or flags.
Here are some tips to ensure candidates can prepare references to help them get the job:
1. Choose your references carefully. This involves having a conversation with all your potential referees about your strengths, weaknesses and significant work related projects that need to be highlighted to portray your capabilities for the new job. Such conversations will help you choose your referees as well as give you an indication of who not to use.
2. Contact a list of referees who are typically those you might have reported to or worked with closely in your previous work experience.
Send a note, make a call, or visit in person to let them know that you’re seeking new employment and that you’d like to use them as a reference. Be sure to share with them your current résumé and let them know of the position you’re applying for, as well as the type of qualities the company is likely seeking. Give them the impression that their reference is critical to your obtaining the job.
3. Prepare your referees. Reference check calls should never come as a surprise for your referees and, if they do, it reflects poorly on your ability to organize yourself to your potential employer. Once you are confirmed for an interview, contact your referees to ask for their ability to give you a positive reference for the position and, if they agree then the permission to use them. Find out the best way to contact them during this time period.
Let your references know each and every time you give out their contact information. Also keep your positive references informed of your career and educational progress. They will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
4. Follow-up with a Thank you. Whether you get a job or not, it is important to acknowledge your referees for their time and efforts.
If you win the new position, call or e-mail the reference, and thank them again for their support.Provide them with your new contact information, and make an effort to maintain communication.
Always update them with the status of the job application and the outcome of the interview. It is very critical to build reciprocity and respect in the relationship with your referees.