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Tips on choosing and prepping your references to land your dream job

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After you have passed all the tests and aced your interviews, the only thing left to worry about is the reference check.

The reference check is a part of a hiring process wherein the employer will contact the applicant’s former co-workers and other sources to learn more about his or her employment record, background, and qualifications for a job.

This is considered as one of the most important aspects of the recruitment process because the feedback from the people who have worked with them or have known the applicant for a long time can give a reflection of how the applicant will be once he or she is hired. That is why preparation is the key in landing your dream job.

Below are the steps on how you can choose and prep your references:

Choose professional references over personal references

Since you are applying for a work, it is ideal to choose your former supervisor, colleagues, and subordinates. It is not too advisable to include your family or friends. Your supervisor can give a feedback in relation to how you deal with your boss. Your colleagues can give a feedback in relation to how you work in a team. Your subordinates, on the other hand, can give a feedback in relation to how you are as a boss. If you have a colleague who turned into a friend, that a different story. You can add them as a reference because they can provide with professional and personal feedback. Just make sure that you have a positive working relationship with all your referees.

Choose references for a specific job

Just like customizing your resume and cover letter, you have to target your references.

For example, you are applying for a trainer position, but you put your colleague when you were a recruiter in your resume. You have to choose someone you have worked with when you were a trainer to gauge how qualified you are for the role unless you don’t have working experience as a trainer yet.

Ask permission

It would be uncomfortable for your former boss or colleague to receive a call for reference without any notice. This will put them off-guard and may not be able to tell recruiter about your accomplishments or worse, they may not even remember you.

Apart from giving them a heads up, you have to contact your referees for you to know how they can represent you. If you feel that they are unsure or confused about how they can speak for you, then that would be a sign that you have to look for someone else.

You should also ask for permission if you can add them as a reference. Tell them about the job you are applying for and highlight your recent accomplishments. This will get them excited when the recruiter contacts them to ask about what they think about you.

Ask for their updated contact details

The worst thing that could happen is for the recruiter to try contacting your referees only to find out that they are unreachable. The HR might try to find their email addresses or phone numbers, but that would take weeks before they can get a feedback and get back to you for the results. This can also be a ground for them to give up and look for another candidate who is professional enough to provide them with everything they needed without any hassle. So after you contact your referees and asked their permission, don’t forget to ask for their current contact details and position.

Give your updated resume to your referee

Your referees might have a vague memory of your working experience with them especially if it has been years since they last heard from you. So it would be nice if you will give hand them your CV to help them recall about your past experience and your set of experiences, talents, and skills.

Address issues with your current boss

There are times when we do not want to include your current boss as a reference. If that is the case, you have to explain your reasons to the recruiter.

It would be understandable if you’re not including your current boss because they are not aware that you are looking for a new one. But if you, straight out, take them out of your list without stating your reasons, that would send them a red flag to your potential employer.

Ask for a reference letter

A reference letter or recommendation letter is a letter in which the referee or sponsor positively assesses the applicant’s skills and capabilities. It could be a letter from a university professor, supervisor or someone who is connected to the applicant.

Reference letters will save you the hassle of asking for their permission and every time you apply for a new job because the letter already outlines your strengths, and sometimes, weaknesses. If ever you have to contact them, it would be to update their current position or their contact details.

Coach your referee

At this point, you can tell them about the possible questions and how they could answer them. You need to help prepare for questions like, how do you know this candidate? How long have you known this candidate? What’s this candidate’s attitude toward work like?  Make sure that they are able to provide answers with concrete examples to support their statements.

Thank your referee

Never forget to send a thank you note or personally show your appreciation to your referees. This gesture will strengthen your relationship with them and will be happy to help you the next time you have a reference check.

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