Checking references is often a company’s last step before hiring. For obvious reasons, thoughtfully and strategically preparing your professional references is a critical part of the job search process. To start, you may be asked list your references in applications.

How to Select References

Obviously, you should choose people who will offer a positive report on your job proficiency and professional attributes.

Good References Can Include:

  • Bosses who had authority over you
  • Co-workers who have worked closely with
  • Mentors
  • Authority figures like professors and coaches

Family and friends are not appropriate references.

Reference Etiquette

When to Ask

If you are thinking about leaving a job, ask for references before you leave. Not only is it easier, but it’s also better business etiquette.

How to Ask

As the potential reference if he or she feels comfortable offering a positive recommendation to a hiring manager.  If there is any hesitation in your potential reference’s response, don’t use that person. Reference checks are too important.

How to Communicate with Your References

Try to give references a heads up if you expect them to be called imminently. Let them know the position you interviewed for and share why you are the best candidate for the job. Asking them to let you know when they’ve spoken to the company is perfectly acceptable.

What to Expect From HR Managers
Almost every hiring manager asks for references when seriously considering someone as a potential hire. For liability reasons, if for no other, they will call each one, assuming you’ve given them a realistic number.

What you’ve portrayed in your interview will narrow what they ask your references. HR managers are looking for inconsistencies between what you’ve told them and what your references say. In that way, you and your references will validate each other.

Preparing Your References

  • Always ask permission from your references before providing their names to anyone. Make sure they agree without hesitation to provide a strong, positive recommendation.
  • Make sure you have current contact information (i.e., name, title, organization, email and phone number).
  • Confirm that they are available via phone or email during your critical job search time.
  • Prepare them in advance by sharing your current resume and the job description.
  • Be sure to thank your references after the selection process is complete.