You have a lot of time invested in the job search. It may have taken you months of applying to jobs with custom resumes and multiple interviews to get to the point where a company is now asking you for your references. You’re one step away from getting the job offer.
But if you pick the wrong references, you could lose the job. Here’s how:
1. If your reference doesn’t say the nice things about you like you hoped they would.
2. If your reference offers up some additional information outside of answering questions and the information they provide isn’t good.
3. If your reference never returns the recruiter’s call.
Why do companies even bother with references? Because references are the last step to ensure a good hiring decision is being made. Let’s face it bad hiring decisions are hard for everyone. For the person who just got the job because now they hate their new job. For the manager because the work isn’t getting done. For the Human Resource professional who has to follow protocols to try and bring the problem to a resolution which often leads to you getting fired.
Here’s how you can make sure you’ve selected the correct references. Ask them what they will say about you. You need to know what the reference will say when asked about your skills, your team working abilities, and your ability to work under tight deadlines – basically stress.
If your reference is a previous supervisor and your last performance rating wasn’t stellar, you definitely want to know if you’ve made improvements so that your supervisor will now support you.
If you don’t have any references, or have lost touch, try using copies of your past performance appraisals only if they’re excellent ratings or even letters of recommendations.
Options as to who might be a reference include:
- Previous supervisors
- Customers – especially if you’re in sales.
- Professors – especially if you’re right out of college.
Don’t lose the job now. Make sure your references will give you a glowing recommendation.