Who Is Your Best Cheerleader? How to Choose Winning References

Posted in Career Best Practices

 

You’re in the home stretch.

 

After a phone screen, two interviews and a skills assessment, your dream employer is ready to offer you a great job.

 

There’s just one more step in their hiring process: the reference check.

 

How can you be sure you’ll clear this final hurdle? Make sure you have the best cheerleaders rooting you to victory.

 

Employment references are more than a formality; they can make or break your chances of landing an offer. So, choose carefully! Below, PrideStaff shares tips for selecting winning job references – and landing the position you want:

 

  • Pick people who have known you for a long time.
    Who will be able to give a potential employer a clearer picture of you – someone you’ve known for six months or six years? References who have known you longer can speak to important job qualities like loyalty, stability and the ability to deliver great results over an extended period.
     
  • Select individuals who know you professionally.
    Personal references are helpful, but a potential employer wants to know how you perform on the job. While you may not be able to ask your current supervisor for a reference (especially if your job search is confidential), choose people who can speak to your professionalism and work ethic, and share examples of how you excelled in your role.
     
  • Acquire a variety of references.
    Try to assemble a diverse group of potential references, because you never know what specifics an employer may request. Consider former managers, co-workers, colleagues or even supervisors in other departments who will say positive things about you. Having a larger pool of employment references will allow you to always put your best foot forward, based on the requirements of a job opportunity.
     
  • Always get permission.
    Before providing the name for any reference, obtain that individual's express permission. Make sure they’re willing and able (i.e., not constrained by company policies) to answer questions about you in a timely and positive manner. If a potential reference declines your request, be gracious and don't take it personally.
  • Keep your references informed.
    When the time comes, give your references a “heads up” to let them know when and from whom they should expect a call. Be sure to convey how much the job opportunity means to you, and recap the strengths, skills and experience you’d like them to highlight.

Final Thoughts

You put great care into every other aspect of your job search:

 

  • customizing your resume;
  • practicing answers to common interview questions;
  • researching potential employers beforehand;
  • choosing an appropriate outfit to wear on job interviews.

Make sure you put as much care into choosing great references – so you’re sure to finish first.

 

On the job hunt?

PrideStaff will ensure that you don’t just search, but succeed. Contact the PrideStaff office in your area to find out more about great local job opportunities.