Why having good references is so important for your professional pathAn excellent feedback about your skills and work qualities is a trampoline for being hired
Most candidates tend to put aside or ignore the fact that a good reference from their former employer represents a true asset and an efficient evaluation tool for the recruiters. But when should you start listing your best references? Before or during the latest stages of the interview? Usually ‘references are relevant only during the later part of the recruiting process, i.e. after a prospective employer has interviewed you and desires to check others’ impressions of you prior to extending you an offer. As a candidate, you should choose to describe yourself first to the prospective employer in an interview. Your references should represent your credentials only after you and the employer have established a mutual interest. This is the established protocol.’ It is also a question of being discrete and avoid unveiling information about private or business contacts that provided you with their feedback.
What types of references can you use, besides the ones from your former employers? Well, in this case you should definitely include those ‘people who’ve been in supervisory role such as client, team leader, professor (if you’re a recent graduate), and who can provide specific details about your contributions and abilities.’ Positive references are great because they can strengthen your credibility and reputation.
While working on your references’ list, names and full coordinates are not enough if you want to get the most out of it. You should better add the ‘length and nature of your relationship, industry knowledge and some top projects’, all elements that make you referee a strategic and important stakeholder.
Before sharing the final list with the recruiters, make sure that your reference contacts are available for a phone call or an email exchange with your new potential employer. Be ahead of the game and get in touch with your reference givers, especially if a big amount of time has passed since your last collaboration. This is a sign of respect and professionalism from both sides, because you wouldn’t want to bother anyone without giving a notice.
Each company has its own policy, and ‘to avoid liability, some companies have internal policies that prevent current employees from providing external references, so if someone on your list has this constraint, find someone who is willing to speak freely about how amazing you are.’ Bottom line, a good reference giver is a person who is not afraid to have an honest chat about your skills, qualities and performances. Make sure you have selected the right people for this task.
Efficient references are not about quantity, but about quality. If you have just one great reference, don’t struggle to find neutral ones just to make up the numbers. Be focused on the best one you’ve got and cultivate it till the end.
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