The role of references during job search

Job interviews are not just about the candidate getting the job purely on the basis of his/her qualifications and work experience, but is also a test about the candidate’s goodwill among his/her friends, colleagues, relatives, family, previous employers, acquaintances etc. These are all termed, as “references” that are required for, before the employer finalizes a job offer.  References are quite important, as it has been observed by recruiters that more than 50% of the time, references put an end to the concerned job seeker’s candidacy.

According to a recent survey carried on by Career Builder, about 62% of employers found that when they contacted a referenced listed on the job application or resume of the candidate, the concerned references talked negatively about the candidate and about 29% of the employers or recruiters found that the references given by the candidate or job seeker were fake. Therefore, it can be concluded that references are not just a trivial administrative formality or hurdle but is an important part of a job interview or job search process that can either make or mar the career of the candidate.

Therefore, to avoid losing a job opportunity because of bad job references, the candidate should make extensive efforts to manage their references. The below mentioned tips would help in managing the references even though it may take some time to succeed.

Advance permission: It is important for the job seeker or candidate to take a prior permission from the person giving you the reference check. The person acting as a referrer should be given appropriate time to think about the request and to respond positively and appropriately. The candidate should intimate the referrer when the employer/recruiter would call him or her through the phone, writing, online or any other modes of communication.

Develop a list of references:  The job seeker should develop a list of about 8 to 10 people who will be a good, reliable reference for him or her and are suitable people who are willing to help the candidate.

Protect references: Human Resource experts opine that it is better not to include a list of references on a resume by the job seeker. It is better not to hand a list of names and contact information to every interviewer who interviews the concerned candidate. Some of these may turn out to be bad referrers.

Give details about the job opportunity: The candidate should provide a copy of his/her resume to his/her referrers as has been provided to the employer. In addition, the job seeker can also send the job description and names of the employers (HR executives) who will be probably be contacting them.

Ask them for feedback : When the referrers (references) are contacted by the employer, the candidate should ask them (referrers) to let him/her know when they (employer) has contacted them, how long the call lasted (in case of telephonic conversation), the questions asked and on what points the employer seemed impressed. Lastly, the candidate if selected for the job should send a thank you note/email, card or gift immediately and thank them for their assistance and support. Let the referrers be intimated about the outcome of the job interview good or bad. Taking the help of a job interview coach would help in learning more about the technique of references.

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