Professional attire, check. Polished and grammatically correct resume, check. References … you’ve got those as well, right? Before you move any further in the journey to find a new job, take a moment to determine the right personal and professional references for you and the job position you desire.
Many times, employment references fall off the list of important things in a job search, being relegated to little more than the last part to fill in on a job application. That kind of thinking is unfortunate because having the right references can make a much bigger impact in a job search than you might think.
Helping to Confirm the Right Candidate
References are used by staffing recruiters in a number of ways. This can include establishing if the candidate is right for a particular job environment, determining the work habits and ethics of an individual, and gaining first-hand information from former co-workers and friends. Because of this importance, it’s worthwhile to ensure that you’ve chosen the right people for the staffing recruiter to contact.
While your mom is bound to be able to provide a glowing reference, it’s important to choose people who can vouch for your character, speak to your skills and experience, and who will create a complete picture of who you are in an unbiased way. As a measure of courtesy, always ask permission to include a person as a reference first. Beyond basic good manners, this request allows the person a heads up that a staffing recruiter could be calling. It also gives the person the opportunity to say no to acting as a reference.
Supply the Needed Information
While it may be painful to hear no from someone who you specifically chose for the purpose, there could be a reason they don’t feel comfortable taking on the role of a reference. Either way, it is better to find out now than have that person give a less-than-satisfactory account of your personal or work history. Hearing a non-positive response from a reference can be a big red flag to a staffing recruiter.
Depending of the number of years you’ve spent in the workforce, you may have more options for quality references than someone just beginning their career. When it doubt, three is typically a good number of references, and it’s always better to have professional references over personal references. Once chosen, offer all references detailed information about the job you applied for, where you sent the resume, and the kinds of duties that would be required in the job. This allows the reference opportunities to draw parallels between the potential job and previous job skills.
Prep for Gathering the Right References
- Request permission to include the person as a personal/professional reference
- Supply information about the job, company, and skills needed for the position
- Ask the reference to return the potential employer’s call at their earliest convenience
- Acknowledge the kindness of performing the task of a reference
- Thank all references for their time prior to and after receiving the job
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire, and temporary employment placement services.