Whether you’re looking for a job or already have one, it’s important to keep an updated resume on file. Similarly, it’s important to continually update a list of references. Here is some insight into the world of reference-checking:
“References are Available Upon Request”
You don’t need to waste precious resume page space to indicate that your “references are available upon request”; this statement is glaringly obvious. Hiring Managers and Recruiters know that if you are a qualified candidate, part of the interview process will be reaching out to your past professional contacts. Instead, keep a list of references and their respective contact details on-hand in case a prospective employer asks for them.
Jack Harsh, adjunct professor at the University of Richmond Robins School of Business, says that when he receives a resume with references attached, he gives them virtually no weight. “They seldom are specific to the role my company seeks and are not meaningful in considering qualifications or traits of successful candidates,” he says. Wait to broach the topic of references until you’re asked for them.
What Do Recruiters Ask During a Reference Check?
Here is some inside info: these are the questions we ask during Reference Checks. Keep this in mind when you are choosing which contacts’ information to share.
1. If you had an opening today for the same job would you rehire [candidate]?
2. How long have you worked with [candidate]?
3. Could you outline his/her position and main responsibilities?
4. What do you consider [candidate]’s key strength?
1. Since none of us are perfect what would you consider an area of opportunity for this individual?
2. Can you describe his/her working relationship with his/her co-workers?
3. How would you describe the candidate’s punctuality and reliability?
4. How much supervision did [candidate] need?
5. How does [candidate] handle pressure? Conflict?
6. How would you describe their attention to detail? Problem solving?
7. How are his / her communication skills? How is his/her interaction with clients internal or external?
8. What about his/ her overall attitude?
9. Do you have anything else you would like to say on [candidate]’s behalf?
How to Deal with References While Employed
If you are currently employed, but looking for new work, you are not obligated to add your current manager or supervisor as a reference; especially if doing so will put your job in jeopardy. Instead, identify a co-worker who you trust, and who is knowledgeable about the current work you are doing.
This just underlines the fact that it is important to keep in touch with those you list as References. If you haven’t spoken to them in more than a few years, they will most likely not give you the most positive review. Drop them a note, keep connected on LinkedIn, and let them know that you’re on the job hunt. This will ensure that they aren’t caught off guard, and will only help you in the interview process.
Profiles is a unique staffing firm specializing in Marketing employment, Creative, and Web & IT jobs. Since 1998, we have served the needs of our Clients and Talent by matching the best candidates with the best companies in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Author Name – Nancy DiSciullo
Title – Senior Account Manager
Location – Washington, DC
Twitter – @ProfilesNancy
Byline – Nancy has been in the recruitment industry for over 10 years placing creative, marketing and communication professionals, both in the traditional and digital space.