5 Ways to Maximize Your References

Reference checks are a crucial part of the recruiting process. Many people seem to think they have become obsolete or a formality, but references are an integral part of assessing candidates throughout the hiring process. References give hiring managers  a different perspective on your skills, abilities and behavior. While your interview answers and responses play a pivotal role in the hiring process, references give a more objective view of what you are like to work with and what you’re capable of. You want to make sure that you get the most of your professional references so here are some tips to ensure you do:

1. Choose wisely
You want to make sure that whoever you list as a reference can provide a meaningful and insightful reference. Make sure the individual can speak clearly as to what you worked on and your main responsibilities. While it might be impressive to include a CMO or director, if you did not work directly with this person, they may have trouble recalling your direct duties. Choose a direct supervisor or colleague who can clearly articulate, with detail, what it’s like to work with you and what you have worked on.

2. Be proactive
When you start submitting your resume, start preparing your references. You want to make sure that you’re prepared to present your references once your employer asks. Scrambling to prepare your references can lead to incorrect contact information and makes you look unorganized.

3. Ask your references
Never include a contact in your references unless you’ve asked permission first. You want a reference who is prepared and willing to speak about their experiences with you. Giving them a call to ask if you can list them as a reference will ensure they are willing as well as prepared. You can also use this time to update them on what job you’re applying for and what you’ve been doing since you worked together.

4. Variety is key
Try and incorporate a variety of references. If you’re required to give 3 references, don’t include 3 people who were coworkers, mix in a supervisor or manager from past positions. If you have had multiple positions, include a contact from different companies, not just one experience. This will give the hiring manager a more detailed account of your employment history and different perspectives on your ability and experiences.

5. Thank your references
Whether you got the job or not, thank your references for their willingness to take time out of their day to speak positively on your behalf. You can send them a simple hand-written note or offer to take them out to lunch and catch up. Make sure they know you appreciate their support.

Get your references ready and apply to one of our openings today!

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