References are a critical step in the hiring process. An employer WILL check yours. Most companies will call about 2 or 3 of your references and ask them different questions about you before they decide if you are the right candidate for their position. You need to make sure that your employment references will give a positive review about you and shower you with recommendations.To ensure you cover all your bases in getting positive feedback from your references, follow these 5 tips:
1. When you start your job search, take some time to sit down put together a list of at least 5 professional career references. Professional means a past supervisor, coworker, client, supplier, or anyone that you have had a close professional relationship with. People who carry the most weight, such as a supervisor, are best to use for references.
2. Never use someone as a reference unless you have discussed it with them first. You need to talk to them and ask for permission. If you want willing, enthusiastic and available references, then they need to be informed. It’s important that they are available. It’s annoying and it does not look good for you when your references don’t return calls in time. When companies get to this stage of the process, they want these references done as quickly as possible.
3. When you are asked by a prospective employer for references, only give them 3 out of 5 of your references. Use the other two as backups in case you have trouble getting in touch with someone. Call your references and let them know that they may be receiving a call from your prospective employer. Tell them that it is crucial that they return the call immediately. Ask them to contact you afterwards so you can discuss.
4. If you are doing a long period of interviewing, check with your employment references every couple of weeks in order to make sure they are still on board and not getting frustrated or annoyed with calls from your interview process.
5. Do not put on your resume, “References available upon request.” Ugh. HR managers already know this and it’s a very overused phrase. Do not put the names and contact numbers of your professional references on your resume. You don’t want just anyone and everyone calling up your references every time they see your resume. You should be in control of your references and know who is going to call them and when. Sometimes, recruiters and other companies will contact your references to recruit them. You’re the one looking for a job, so make sure that your references remain yours and out of the public domain.