In any job application process, referees are an essential step however it is important not to worry about them before they are needed.
For most positions, referees are checked at the end of the recruitment process and therefore, you are not required to hand over those all-important contact details until then. With this in mind, as they are the final stage of the recruitment process, focus your energy and thoughts on securing an interview, rather than worrying about your referees.
So, before you start worrying about your referees, you first need to demonstrate your skills, experience and suitability for the position via your resume, a cover letter, perhaps selection criteria and of course an interview or multiple interviews. It is here where you need to plan and prepare to ensure you create a lasting impression that will carry you through to reference checks and ultimately a job offer.
Once you have performed in the interview and have demonstrated you are the best person for the job, it’s time to finalise your referees. Most employers use referees to support their decision to offer you the position and not to change their mind. For example, they are used to confirm you are the right person for the job or to clarify your skill level or experience.
Therefore, potential worries about your references or who to choose as a referee before you have secured an interview creates an unnecessary distraction to your job application and interview preparation.
Decisions around referees are still important so here are my top referee tips:
- Identify a list of potential referees during your job search process
- Try to select your most recent supervisor or manager (if you left on good terms)
- Have your referee contact details up to date and know how they prefer to be contacted
- Brief your referee with information about the position and the company
- Be aware of their availability during the week and the best time to contact them. Check if they on annual leave, overseas, available on mobile, at the office or on email
- Have back up options should a referee be unavailable or your new employer asks for a different contact
And finally, the most important:
- Check they are actually happy to be your referee! (Yes, some people forget this part and referees get a surprise call)
For additional help with your next job application or coaching on for an upcoming interview, contract me directly and good luck with your next career move.