YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
WHO SHOULD I ASK TO BE MY REFEREE? DO THEY NEED TO BE MY IMMEDIATE MANAGER?
EXPERIENCED DARREN BUCHANAN MANAGING DIRECTOR, HAYS QUEENSLAND
The referees recruiters and employers value the most are the people you reported to directly. These people can speak about your skills, experience and how you added value to their department or organisation. Former managers can also speak about your personal attributes, such as reliability, collaboration and interpersonal skills. It’s a good idea to keep track of where your referees are as they too may have moved on from the organisation where you both once worked. There’s also etiquette – ask your referees if they’re still happy to speak on your behalf before providing their details.
MID-CAREER ANDREA DAVEY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, EMPLOYMENT OFFICE
When it comes to referees, the best people to list are those you reported to, and those you reported to most recently. Warning bells go off in a recruiter’s head if a candidate has only listed referees from a number of positions ago, if none of their referees are people the candidate reported to, or if all of their referees are personal rather than professional. If you haven’t told your current employer that you’re looking for other positions, explain this to the recruiter – they’ll most likely understand and will accept a reference from your direct supervisor in the job you held before your current role.
UP & COMING JULIE FORD SENIOR EXECUTIVE CONSULTANT, McARTHUR
Ideally your referee should be the manager you reported to in your current or previous company. When conducting reference checks I look for confirmation you have the capability to perform the stated tasks in your previous job and/or the ability to step up to new challenges. Your manager is the best person to verify this information as they have been responsible for managing and measuring your performance while employed with them. Additionally, they can confirm your achievements, attendance/punctuality, team spirit and attitude – all as important as job skills.
THE EXPERT DR NERIDA HILLBERG DIRECTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, FERRIS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS
Ideally, referees should be able to attest to your recent work performance. Practically however, there are a range of reasons you may not want your immediate manager to be contacted about a potential new role. It places you in quite a compromised position if you aren’t offered the role, as your manager now knows of your intentions to depart. For these reasons, I advise providing a prior, recent manager as your referee. Always seek their permission first and check that the contact details you have for them are current. Ensure you also thank them.