How to Get Outstanding Job References

Outstanding references are crucial to the recruitment process. If an employer conditionally offers you a role, he or she may withdraw the offer if your references do not come up to scratch. It is vital, therefore, to make sure that you have outstanding references before you even apply for the job. Make sure that you always have the best possible references by following these simple tips.

Choose your referees carefully

The chances are that you there will be many people who you could consider asking to act as a referee for you. An outstanding referee is always somebody that can offer very specific, positive feedback about your performance. Choose people who are very familiar with what you do, and can capably discuss your strengths. Select relevant referees. Your current manager is a more relevant referee than somebody who you worked for 20 years ago. Avoid references from anybody with whom you have a personal relationship. Friends and family members are out. You need to show impartiality and complete professionalism.

Talk to your referee before you apply for the role

Never give referee details until you have spoken to the person concerned. If your referee is on leave or away, the recruiter will be unable make contact. Alternatively, your referee may not have an entirely positive opinion of you. This could lead to a very embarrassing conversation. Remember also that some people simply opt not to give out references. It is not compulsory. You cannot force somebody to do it. It is important to talk to your referee first to make sure that he or she is willing, and that he or she is going to give an entirely positive account of your performance.

Brief your referee on key points to discuss

According to the role that you are applying for, you should direct your referee on specific skills and experience that you would like him or her to mention. The recruiter will almost certainly have very specific questions, but this does not mean that your referee cannot bring key achievements into the conversation. If your role requires strong customer focus, then make sure that your referee is aware of this. Make sure that your referee is able to substantiate any specific achievements that you mention in your application. For example, if you quote an outstanding sales target achievement, confirm that your referee has the exact details to discuss this.

Make it easy for a recruiter to get in touch

Take personal accountability for making it easy for the recruiter to contact your referee. Ensure that telephone numbers, fax numbers or email addresses are all correct. Test them all before submitting the details to the recruiter. Make sure that each referee knows that he or she can expect a call, and when to expect it. After an interview, keep in regular contact with each of your referees to find out if they have received any contacts.

Show gratitude to your referees

If somebody agrees to offer you a reference, always make sure that you say thank you. A good referee can support you throughout your career, so you should always show that you appreciate the effort. Send flowers, wine or other suitable gifts, along with a card to say thank you. Let your referees know how you are getting on in your new role, too. Ensure that your referees keep a strong role in your business network. Above all, if one of your referees asks you to return the favor, make sure that you show the same level of support.

An outstanding verbal or written reference could be the difference between success and failure. You should never underestimate how important it is to keep a strong set of high-quality referees. A list of outstanding, current references can make sure that you stand the greatest chance of interview success throughout your career.

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