We hear this A LOT from our candidates, and it’s a good question!
Some applicants want to list co-workers and family as references but most of the time that is not the best idea.
The first thing that you always want to do is narrow down your list of professional contacts to only those who will speak highly of you! Then simply ask that person if you can use them as a reference.
The next thing that you need to make sure of is that they are willing to be contacted and that they actually take the time to do so! If they are hard to get ahold of or will not call back, they are not helping you and are actually holding up the process. Let them know who or what company could be calling and what the position entails so they can be ready to talk about your skills.
DO NOT forge ANY information on your reference checks! Employers will call previous companies and ask for that person’s title, so that must be correct or else it will look like you are being dishonest.
Keep in mind that some companies can only provide dates of employment, title and salary. If you need more information than that you may want to put that contact down as a personal reference. Sometimes they will be able to tell more about your personality and work habits that way. But you will also need to have a list of professional references to go along with it as well.
Individuals who can be listed as references include:
- Direct Supervisors
- Vendors or customers who are aware of your quality of work (if you are currently employed and want to keep your job search confidential) Make sure you tell them that you do not want to jeopardize your current position!
- People who are aware of your past accomplishments
- People who understand the impact of your accomplishments and how helped your previous employer
If you are worried about getting a bad reference, have someone call first to see what they will say! If the company can legally only give out names, titles and wage verification that “average” response will still be better than someone saying you didn’t take constructive criticism well, was not a team player, was always late or constantly complaining.
*Candidate Next Step – Career Advisor – Barb Bruno – Important Announcement – March 16, 2016.