Tak­ing care of your job ref­er­ences

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

“JOE Smith, huh? Wow, this must be the third time this year he’s used me as a ref­er­ence. Is he look­ing for work again?”

“You’re ask­ing about Joe Smith? Wow, I haven’t heard from him in ages. Let me see if I can re­mem­ber what he did here.”

“The num­ber you have reached is no longer in ser­vice…”

If you’re Joe Smith, th­ese are all an­swers you never want a hir­ing manager to hear dur­ing a ref­er­ence check.

Many job seek­ers as­sume that their trusty list of ref­er­ence con­tacts will al­ways be there to sing your praises, but many hir­ing man­agers I’ve talked to say that ref­er­ences of­ten back­fire and, in some cases, end up be­ing the rea­son they de­cide not to hire the can­di­date.

While you can’t con­trol all of their re­sponses, there are some ways you can en­sure that your ref­er­ences will pro­vide truth­ful in­for­ma­tion about you that can be tai­lored to the job you are seek­ing.

Keep in touch. If you’re look­ing for work and plan to sub­mit a list of ref­er­ences, be sure to con­tact each per­son and let them know you may be on the mar­ket again soon. This is also a good time to make sure their con­tact in­for­ma­tion is up to date. It’s a huge red flag if the hir­ing manager is given a num­ber that has been dis­con­nected or an email ad­dress that bounces back.

Re­fresh your list ev­ery year. As time goes by and de­tails about your work ex­pe­ri­ence get fuzzier, the im­pact of the ref­er­ence be­gins to di­min­ish. You may have a great ref­er­ence who has pro­vided stel­lar in­for­ma­tion about you over the years, but if you have not worked with that per­son in the last, say, five years, if may be time to find some more re­cent col­leagues to con­tact.

Warn them well in ad­vance. When hir­ing man­agers ask for ref­er­ences, they are usu­ally in the fi­nal stages of de­cid­ing be­tween the fi­nal­ists and will likely start call­ing the names im­me­di­ately.

This is no time to start warn­ing the ref­er­ence that a call may be com­ing that day. Give them at least a few days, or per­haps a full week, of ad­vance no­tice so they can pre­pare their an­swers.

Coach ref­er­ences on re­sponses. Are you stay­ing in the same field with this job open­ing you are seek­ing? If not, what type of skills are they look­ing for?

Have a con­ver­sa­tion with your ref­er­ences and talk about the dif­fer­ent skill sets you will be us­ing, if any, in this new job.

Try to re­mind them of projects you man­aged when you worked to­gether and see whether there are any trans­fer­able skills you can high­light.

— seat­tle­times

You can en­sure that your ref­er­ences will pro­vide truth­ful in­for­ma­tion about you that can be tai­lored to the job you are seek­ing.

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