When you have invested both time and energy to find that perfect role, including searching, resume preparation and the actual interview, an important final step of the process is often overlooked — references.
Eighty-five per cent of hiring managers will check at least one reference as part of their recruitment process. More importantly, research indicates that they are less likely to hire a candidate who cannot provide easily contactable and acceptable work-related references.
Gone are the days of handing a photocopied letter from your neighbours detailing what a nice person you are. Personal and character references are rarely requested in today’s recruitment process. The fact is that your work-related referees can be the deciding factor on your chances of being hired.
Respect the privacy of your contacts and don’t provide details on your resume. Instead it’s best to note ‘References are available upon request’ and then have them readily available when requested.
Think carefully when choosing your references. Hiring managers often prefer to speak to someone from your current workplace, but this is not always possible. Look to other companies you may have worked for and consider not only direct supervisors and managers but also close business acquaintances, educators, colleagues, co-workers or even long-term customers. This should be someone who can make valuable comments and provide a good assessment on your strengths, abilities and skills.
Always get permission from each referee before you include them. Give your references a copy of your latest resume and keep them updated on the types of roles you are applying for. If appropriate, you may also like to give them a brief description of the job opportunity or a copy of the position description for the role you are interested in.
Provide business phone and email details for your reference in an effort to make them easily contactable. Also, have a backup or alternate contact as a reference, just in case your primary one is not available.
Finally, always remember to thank your references whether you are successful in securing the role or not. Some job seekers find that they use a particular reference several times throughout their career and others maybe just once. But remember that a good, reliable reference is often the final job hunting hurdle! Good Luck!