Being a reference for a previous co-worker or employee might be the way to your next job, too.
Some recruiters and hiring managers still pick up the phone and call references. If you’re that person they’re calling, pick up the phone.
Here’s a little known secret.
Recruiters sometimes call references for the main purpose of trying to recruit them. This could be your chance to get into the company you’ve been trying to work for.
Acting as a reference really is one more way of networking. You’ll be able to add either a recruiter or a hiring manager to your contact list. If you’re not interested in making a job change at that moment it might be that in six months you will be ready and you’ll have a contact into a company that you can reach out to.
Many large companies use an external service for checking references or a reference checking software such as Skill Survey. Companies use these tools to collect your reference on the candidate they are considering hiring as well as to solicit information from you regarding your employment status and if you would be willing to be contacted by a recruiter.
If you do happen to speak to a recruiter or hiring manager and you’re interested in working at the company don’t be shy about saying something. Let the person you’re speaking with know about your interest in working at the company. This is happened a number of times over the course of my recruiting career. Many times I’ve hired the reference as well as the candidate I had been calling about.
So the next time you’re asked to be a reference for someone do it…that is, as long as you can vouch for their work ethics in a positive manner. The first priority in being a reference should always be helping someone else get the job.