The Importance of Using Strong References
When searching for their best hire, employers need to know that their candidates have a consistent history of strong performance and good working relationships throughout their professional career. This means that one of your most effective tools for standing out as a good recruit is a list of great references!
Asking Your Past Employers
It’s usually good practice to request a reference by email rather than by phone, as it allows your past employer to accept or decline in their own time rather than feeling obligated to answer immediately. Be sure to make your request politely, asking if they would be comfortable with providing a reference to qualify you for a new position. Give them an up-to-date picture of your career, not to mention some information on the position or positions you’re currently applying for. This will allow them to offer the right details when speaking with your prospective new employer. If they agree, be sure to follow up and thank them whether you get the job or not!
Building the Right List
Another key consideration in this process is knowing who of your past employers you should include in your list. For starters, you should only include those who are expecting to be contacted. If your potential employer surprise-calls one of your references, the often awkward conversation that ensues will indicate to the recruiter that you are unprepared and disorganized. Never include friends, family members, or employers who fired you. You and your reference should agree on a clearly indicated reason for having left the job so that there are no inconsistencies between what you tell the recruiter and what they hear from your past supervisor.
Things to Avoid
Remember our blog on what to avoid when writing your resume? We mentioned that including your references on your resume is usually a no-go, as it uses up valuable space and references are typically not called until a candidate reaches a higher level of consideration. Never forget to keep this in mind! Be sure you’re not directing the recruiter to contact your reference by any other method than the one that your reference has indicated to you. Ensuring a pleasant and productive conversation between them will provide the best results!
Is your list of references ready? As Calgary’s foremost employment agency, we’re always here to help. Start searching for your dream job today using our job search portal!