What You Need To Know About References

Business Support Tips & Tricks
Checking References

Would you be able to nominate two positive referees from previous employers? It is a question nearly every recruiter will ask you at some point in your application process. Before you hastily scribble down the first names that come to mind, have a think about what you are doing. The people you choose are going to represent you. The line between being a successful candidate and missing out on your dream role could be decided right then and there.

Nominating Referees

Many agencies and companies will need the referees to be people that you have reported directly to at some point and from your most recent roles. This can be limiting and may only leave you with one possible person, but if you have a few different options to play with, you may want to ponder some of these thoughts. It’s a blunt statement, but have you been successful in your role? Have you done a good job and worked hard, or have you just breezed through with a not-so-great attitude doing the bare minimum or not even that? Agency reference checks tend to be templated documents with careful wording and if you have not pulled your weight in that role, trust me it will be obvious.

A good thing to think about if you have a few potential referee prospects is who is going to better relate to the role you are applying for. You are trying to choose a referee that has seen you completing or having some of the skills you will need to be successful in the role you are applying for. If your official Manager was someone who sat at a desk in the branch across town to you, but you also reported to the manager that sat right next to you, then it’s probably best to pick the person who saw you every day, saw you completing tasks and knows first-hand your capabilities. Most of you will agree that many of us do more than our official job title may suggest, so try and choose someone that has seen what you actually do rather than the job that falls under your job description.

Brief Your Referees

When you think you have selected the two best referees you could put forward, pick up the phone! Have the position description of the job you are applying for handy. Give your referee a rundown of the job and the responsibilities you would have if successful. Make sure they are happy to be a referee for you because you’re going to want them on your side. If they don’t want to, don’t pressure them; head back to the beginning and choose someone else. You want to really discuss and brainstorm with your referee. Make sure they know what your strengths are. Make sure they remember how well you got along with everyone and remind them that you were a model employee. Brainstorm examples and situations that you overcame with them. Discuss weaknesses and suggest possible ways of relaying them to make them sound somewhat positive or that you have since learned something from those weaknesses and now, they are your strengths. The important thing about having a chat with your referee beforehand is to make sure you are both on the same page about your performance and skills.

Remember References Throughout Your Role

When you first start a role, thinking about getting a reference check from them when you leave probably isn’t high on the list for most, but it’s important to keep that in the back of your mind. If you have been in a role that you didn’t really want or have lost enthusiasm in, this will not look good to potential future employers. The candidate will not always have the opportunity to explain comments made by their referee. This is important advice for anyone in or entering the workforce; always work hard and build strong professional relationships with your managers and colleagues. If you are in a role that you don’t enjoy, try to re-enter the job market to find something different (easier said than done, I know). When you are at work, have a positive attitude and work hard because when that job ends, it may impact the next job you try to get. 40 hours in your working week doesn’t seem like that much time in the grand scheme of things, although every Monday morning I feel like it’s going to be an eternity until the Friday afternoon wines get passed around.

When to Submit Referee Details

Should you put your referees on your CV? Many people are split between if you should do this or if you write something like ‘referees are available on request’. It is perfectly acceptable to write the latter, especially if you are applying and submitting your CV to multiple companies. This protects your referee’s personal information as well as keeping you somewhat in control of the process and the stages being taken.