At some point in the interview process, companies are going to ask for job references. Job references can make or break your candidacy.
Most people wait until the last minute to construct a list of job references. This is a big mistake. Sending references that were not pre-checked regularly derails many job offers.
The first priority is to pick people that will say positive things about you.
After that criteria is met, here is the priority list for references:
- Job References from Superiors – A current or former boss are the best reference. Nothing speaks louder than a former supervisor singing your praises.
- Job References from Co-Workers – A current or former co-worker are also solid people to turn to. Make sure to only include colleagues that worked closely with you. If you pick a co-worker that isn’t aware of your work, they will not be able to provide good examples.
- Personal References – Only use these as a last resort. Most companies want professional references. It isn’t hard for someone to get a friend to say nice things about them. Even if you are a fresh college graduate, try to find a supervisor from a part time job. This is much more powerful than a friend or even a professor.
Make Sure Your Job References are Rock Solid
I could tell you countless stories of candidates that gave references they were sure would support them. However, when the company called them, the reference told them what they really thought of the candidate. So how do you make sure the job references provided will be positive? There are two options. First, have one of your friends call the references and check them. The best part of this option is it is free. However, it probably won’t be done in a professional manner and there is a risk that you could be “caught” by the reference making that reference unusable. A better option is to hire a reference checking company to do it for you.
Use Professional Job Reference Validation Companies
These companies will do a professional reference and provide a detailed report. Based on the reports, it allows you the option to change the reference list if necessary. They service companies typically charge about $50 to $60.
We recommend the following agency:
The key with job references is to check them early in the process and make sure they are good before providing them to employers.