How Relevant are Job References?

  • On September 21, 2022

When applying for a position, candidates showcase their strengths and skills. But how relevant are job references? References provide insight into your personality and work performance, and helps potential employers learn how you might interact with their team and perform within their organization.

This information also gives clues as to whether you could fulfill the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the role of interest. From there, the hiring team can get a sense if your work habits align with what you shared during the interview process, as employers wish to know whether you blend with their culture. The more you align with the company’s mission, vision, and values, the more likely you will remain with the organization long-term. 

Determining which of your previous colleagues, coworkers, managers, or supervisors to list as a reference depends on who knows you best. Think about the responsibilities you had and the accomplishments you achieved in previous roles, and who can attest to them. It would be best if you can choose a mix of professionals, as they can provide different perspectives to help you land a job. Do not select people who you do not have some type of relationship or communication with. 

Once you select who you would like to list, you should provide some background on the role so these professionals understand what you are looking for and obtain their permission. For example, you may ask, “Do you feel you know my work well enough to serve as a reference?” Or, “Do you feel comfortable serving as a reference for me?” While they may be a good reference, ensuring they are comfortable providing information to the hiring team is important as well.

From there, you should share your skills, experience, and accomplishments most relevant to the role. Ask these professionals to talk about these details if your potential employer contacts them, so you feel the best information you wish the hiring team to know is shared. 

Once you’ve had a discussion regarding the role you applied for and the abilities you wish to be communicated, ensure you have accurate information for your job references. This includes their job title, company name, phone number, and email address. If you don’t and the hiring manager has no ability to contact your references, there is a chance of you not advancing or being offered a job. When their contact information is verified, be sure to ask how your job references would prefer to be contacted. This better helps your potential employer have a guaranteed method of getting in touch with them.

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