When hiring managers are sifting through candidates and preparing for the interview process, they often seek input from the list of references provided by the candidate.
During the hiring process, references serve as an incredibly powerful tool. Hiring managers usually contact references to find out whether the candidate is truly capable of accomplishing and what he or she likes to work with. It is the reason why job seekers should choose their references carefully before they apply for jobs.
References can have a significant impact on your career. CareerBuilder conducted a survey that revealed that close to 70 percent of employers have actually changed their mind about a particular candidate due to their references. 47 percent of employers surveyed stated that they had less than favorable opinion of the candidate while about 33 percent states that their opinion of the candidate improved one they spoke with the reference.
When you are choosing references, it is important to pay attention to several key factors. Here are some of the important rules you should follow when choosing a job reference:
- Think carefully Before You Select a Reference
When you are choosing a reference, you need to think about the type of reference that you are actually looking for. Do you want a reference that can speak highly of your work ethic? Do you want a person capable of illustrating your personality to potential employers? When you are choosing a reference, it is important to choose a person capable of speaking highly of you as a professional, so ensure that you choose only the best reference depending on the position applied.
Effective references are those that have had the chance to witness your accomplishments and experience your personality first-hand. You shouldn’t feel like you must have a former boss serving as a reference. You can pick a previous co-worker, college professor, mentor, or professional colleague. The important thing to keep in mind is that those you have interacted with closely through professional relationships are more likely to provide a more accurate reference.
- Seek the References Permission
You must never use a reference before first asking for their permission. Irrespective of how you perceive your relationship with the reference, not all people are comfortable offering recommendations especially when it comes to employment opportunities. While your colleagues will in most cases be flattered to be your reference, it is always respectful to first seek their permission. Here is a good guide on how to include references in your resume.
- Collect Important Details Pertaining to the Reference
Once you secure a reference, ensure that you collect his or her contact details. Record their full name, email, phone number, current title, and work address. Most employers will require such details during the interview process.
- Coach the References
It is advisable to ensure that your references have copies of your current resume as well as samples from your portfolio. You also need to explain to them your skills, best accomplishments, and all the major projects that you have worked on. Doing this helps the references give you the most relevant and best recommendation to employers.
- Keep Your References Informed During the Job Search
It is important to keep your references informed during the job search. References don’t want to be requested to provide a reference when it is least expected.
If you include a reference on your job application, you need to follow up and let them know to be expecting an email or phone call from an employer. It will help them prepare to offer a better reference for you and stay informed during the process of hiring.
These are just some of the essential rules that you should follow when you are choosing the best references for your job search. If you maintain a positive relationship with the references, they are likely to provide more glowing recommendations in the future too.