Getting effective Professional References

Imagine getting a call from an agency asking for a professional reference. While making your presentation, you’re trying to recall a colleague or client you worked with two to three years ago. Imagine you cannot remember this person, and the reference check is unsuccessful.

Suppose this was your job application for a senior role you desperately wanted, and your former manager didn’t know you had referred him for a professional reference check.

Increasingly, employers are looking for candidates with verified backgrounds and professional references. Below is a checklist you should follow:

1. Ask for Permission for Professional References

Before you submit someone for reference checks, make sure you have requested them personally and they have agreed to serve as your references. No one likes to be contacted for a reference check without prior notice. This will also allow them to prepare for the expected call or email.

2. Keep them Updated

Although most reference checks are conducted before the offer stage, in some cases, external agencies perform reference checks. As a result, they may approach references much earlier. To avoid any last-minute surprises, try to understand when they can expect a call/email so that they are more likely to attend to that call or respond to an email within the scheduled time frame.

3. Prepare a List of Questions

If you have worked with them for a few months or a year, it is essential to refresh their memories and help them prepare for the expected question(s). We are not suggesting feeding a favourable outcome during references. These are the mere skeleton of your engagement, and let references fill in the rest. Some of the questions could be:

  • Which company/project did you work together?
  • What were the approximate start and end date/month of the engagement?
  • Role and responsibilities of the referee and reference at that time?
  • Any extraordinary accomplishments or achievements during the assignment?
  • Also, refresh memories about the day to operate and the nature of the interaction you shared with the reference.

Your references matter and this could be one of the deciding factors whether you will get the job or not. Nurture your relations and have a good list of people who will vouch for your work, and ethics is secret to ace the reference checks.

Wish you very best for your job hunt !!

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