Ensuring you build a strong reference list

After impressing in an interview and hopefully clinching that dream job, the final step in the hiring process will be when the recruiter asks for references to make that last check on your background.

References are still a vital part of the recruitment process.  And this is where you need to ensure that you carefully select the right people who will be able to give you the positive feedback you need.

Building a strong reference list

It is vital that you line up a number of references before you get to interview stage for any position.  When you ask somebody to be a reference, try and find out what aspects they are most comfortable speaking about.

Depending on what your relationship with an individual is, will depend on what perspective they are coming from when they write up your reference.  A colleague might talk about what a joy you are to work for and how you always mucked in with team assignments.

And you want a boss to talk about how you were hard working, took the initiative at every opportunity amongst all those other great traits that you possessed.   Obviously you wouldn’t pick anybody to give you a reference if you had had conflict with an individual.  This especially applies to bosses or supervisors that you may have had an argument with in the past.

Root out bosses and supervisors that are likely to sing your praises and ask them if they wouldn’t mind being on your reference list.

Pre-qualify the reference

Without wanting to put words into people’s mouths, it is never a bad idea to outline what you expect from a reference from the individual you are looking to use.  Send over a bulleted list of the skills, accomplishments and leaderships style you are looking for the person to report on your behalf.

Don’t be afraid to help them recall specific examples of when you worked together and you could also email them a bulleted list of achievement that came as a direct result of working together.

It is imperative that you always line people up for references and never to put a person as a point of contact for a reference if you have not pre-qualified them first.  You need everybody on your reference list to be fully aware that you are searching for a new job and what you expect them to detail on your reference.

360-degree references

Wherever possible, it’s a great idea if you can give the person recruiting an overall perspective of who you are and what you have achieved.

To do this, include a boss, a colleague and maybe even a person you have managed in your list of references to give the person hiring a really rounded view.

Many thanks for reading, and if you need any help with your job search, please don’t hesitate  to contact us here, or alternatively you can contact me on LinkedIn page or Twitter via the links below.

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