Most employers ask for job references at some point in the interview process before they make a final offer. Sometimes they ask for your references right away, and sometimes they wait until you’re further along in the process. It really is up to each individual employer to decide when to ask.
While you’re waiting to hear how you did, it’s a great time to think about the quality of your references list – whom to include and what else you need to do to before submitting it, including how to handle any potential references problems should they exist. Here are some articles to help guide you:
When an employer asks for your references page
Everything we do or say during the interview process can leave a lasting impression with the employer. So even when presenting a references list page, it’s smart to take the time to prepare a great-looking, quality page with references you’ve contacted ahead of time. Make it the best representation of you possible!
Here’s a sample references page you can use as a template, plus some tips on how to include some extra helpful information for the employer:
Remember that even this reference sheet might show the employer the kind of care – or lack of it – that you might also put into your work. So take the time to make it accurate, complete, well-organized and attractive!
The reference checking process
Even though it often feels like they’re an afterthought, references can make or break your chances at getting the job. And not everyone that you list will give you a great reference, so you need to make sure you’ve down all you can to ensure they are on your side.
I spent many years helping to hire people and often was the person who called the references. And, although many companies have started to limit how much they say, a good reference checker can often find ways to get a little extra information.
Usually the reference checking process is limited to the references you give. BUT, if the checker gets a feeling there’s more to the story, their calls can sometimes people who weren’t listed, such as a boss or co-worker who knew their work well. All the more reason your given references need to be strong and sound real.
What if you have problems with your references?
When it comes to making sure your references come through for you as you need them to, there are a few potential things that might provide challenges. maybe your references aren’t available, or the employer simply can’t contact them – or you don’t have good references to begin with.
Here are some articles to help you understand the possibilities, so you can figure out what to do should a problem arise:
Remember that we all encounter obstacles in our job search, but there is almost always a way to get around them – and find solutions that work for you. If all else fails, even after you’ve tried everything you can think of, it’s worth a shot to offer to work as a freelancer to show them how good you are!
How to make sure your references are good
In the end, references are about the relationships you build along the way. So the very best thing you can do, is make sure that whatever the job (even ones you don’t like) you do your very best. And most important of all, work to build respect and appreciation with your boss and co-workers.
But even with the best intentions, I know that’s not always possible. So you need to do your best to find a few solid references (even if you have to go back in time), preparing them for the call to come. And if you don’t have them, as soon as you can, PLEASE create some – even if you have to take on extra work or volunteer.
The solid references you make now are the gateway to the jobs you really want. So it’s never too early to start preparing for that NEXT job.