Your well-crafted resume has enabled you to pass the initial screening process, and your interview preparation has ensured you are now through to the final stage. There is now just one thing left you need to secure the role: a verbal reference. Don’t underestimate the power of your referees; a new employer is about to make an investment in you, and they want to be sure you are who you say you are. Having professional referees up your sleeve could make or break your chances of securing your dream job. So how can you maximise the success of your references?
Choose 3-5 referees with whom you have worked closely and who are more senior to you professionally. It may be a supervisor or manager who worked with you on a daily basis and can comment on your professional skills as well as your character. Do not choose a friend or family member for professional reference.
Ask their permission to be contacted as a referee. Be sure they are comfortable giving a verbal reference for you and that they will be available at the expected time of the call and not away on holiday. Be prepared for some people to decline to give a reference; some companies have policies against providing references other than to confirm dates of employment and salary.
Keep them up to date on your job search and let them know the role you have applied for to give them time to prepare. If it has been a while since you asked them to be a referee, confirm their contact details are still current and send them a copy of your resume to jog their memory, if required.
Always have your referee's details ready to be presented to the hiring manager when asked. Be sure to supply the person’s full name, title, company and contact telephone number of the business. References should not be obtained on a mobile phone unless the bona fides of the referee’s place of work have been verified.
Be sure to thank each of your referees for their assistance and let them know the outcome of your job search. This is common courtesy and will also keep connections open, as you may need to call upon them again in the future.