Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Reference checks are usually the final decision making point for employers. Make sure you set your Referees up to guarantee your success.
Conducting reference checks is a standard part of the recruitment process. Whilst some organisations will only do a check with the company to verify the dates you worked there and the roles you had, most organisations still like to do a more thorough check with two managers you have directly reported to.
This can be a vital part of the final decision-making process for a hiring manager, particularly if there are still two (or more) candidates in the running for the role. The information provided by your Referees can be “make or break” for you being offered the role or not. And it starts with your resume.
Do not list your Referees on your resume
Your Referee's details are private and they probably don't want them printed on all of your applications to people they do not know. Providing them on request also gives you the opportunity to prepare your Referees with the details of the job you are applying for. Most Referees will not appreciate unsolicited phone calls and a request to provide information about previous team members without warning. In any case, it is just nice manners to ask them prior to conducting a reference check, particularly if you want a glowing one!
Now you are getting close to landing your dream job. Whilst you want your referees to present you in the best light, it is likely they will have forgotten key parts of your career, particularly if you haven’t reported to them for a while. You can assist your referees in remembering relevant information and also providing them direction to focus on your accomplishments specific for the role.
Contact your Referees
It may seem obvious but the first thing you should do when you are asked to provide referee details is to check your referees are happy to do a reference check for you. You want to ensure they will present you in a favourable light and are happy to take the time. If you are actively looking for a new role and have a few opportunities on the go, then you need to ask your referees if they are happy to do a reference check for each of the roles. This can be time consuming for the referees, so you want to ensure they are happy to invest the time.
Send an informative email
Below are seven more sure ways to set your busy referees up for success so you can land your dream job, all in one streamlined email.
1. Send your referees the job description
Providing an overview of the job you are going for will allow your referees to understand what the job is in detail. If you do not have a copy of the job description, then send a link to the job ad or attach a copy. This will outline what the company is looking for and what experience they are wanting.
2. Send the contact details of the person calling
Sending through a list of contact details of the person who will be calling will ensure your referee is not caught off guard and they can prioritise the call. Consider including the person’s name, title, contact number, email address and a link to the company website.
3. Send a copy of your resume
Include a copy of your targeted resume you have used for your job application. This will illustrate the key achievements you have outlined and how you have positioned your roles to progress through the recruitment and selection process.
4. Outline your top three strengths
List your three top strengths you have identified in your application/interview. This will act as a quick reference point and ensure your referee is aligned and reiterates what you have told the potential employer.
5. Provide your weakness – area of development
As you have done with your strengths, provide your key area of development (weakness) you believe you have for the role. Only provide one as you don’t want the referee to focus on what gaps you have.
6. Showcase your career achievements
You have gone through the recruitment process and will have insight into what the potential employer is looking for in the successful candidate. Highlight the key areas and how your career achievements align.
7. Provide your reason for leaving
One point that Referees often get caught out on is why the candidate left the role or is looking to leave. You can almost guarantee this will be a question asked of your Referee, so having this available is useful.
Respecting your Referee's personal information and asking them if they are happy to conduct a reference check on your behalf are important in ensuring your success at reference check stage. Sending an email with valuable information is the another important step. You will need to replicate these steps for each role you are successful at getting to reference check stage. Each job will be unique and you should prepare your Referees for each job to set them up to ensure your success.