Has this ever happened to you – either as the caller or as the one receiving the call?
The phone rings at work, you answer it and find out it is a hiring manager from some company who would like to ask you questions about Mary Smith. You come to find out that Mary listed you as a reference and now is being considered for a job (what job you have no idea). Your reaction is “Who did you say you are and what company again?” Not a stellar start for Mary’s reference checks.
Too often job hunters leave potential references in the dark as to their job search progress. Some individuals think the reference checks are a trivial step, that if you reach this stage the job is theirs. While this should be true, one does not to celebrate too early.
Here are some tips to ensure you have a solid reference check:
- Reach out to each potential reference and ask permission to list them as a reference.
- Provide a copy of your resume to the reference and some background information they may find helpful (ex: major projects you worked on with that person, types of jobs you are applying for, possibly a copy of the position description).
- Call each reference to inform them they may be contacted by XYZ company in reference to your application to (insert position title).
- During the call, let references know about your interview(s) with the company, what examples/projects/skills you discussed during the interview(s) as this will help the reference be prepared to support your assertions made during the interview, why you want the job, etc. This information can help references anticipate potential questions during the reference check as well as what skills to highlight in their conversation.
Take this last step in the hiring process as serious as you did when sending in your resume/application. Be sure to finish strong and not think you can coast to victory like this guy.