What To Consider When Choosing References

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What To Consider When Choosing References

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When looking for a new job you usually start with updating your resume and making sure your current or last role is up-to date by adding any extra skills or qualifications you have gained. As important as this is, one thing most job seekers forget to do is to review and update their references! In order to put your best foot forward, ensure you keep your references relevant by having the most appropriate contacts for the role you will be applying for. In this blog article I will discussed the most important things to consider when choosing your referees and some insight knowledge of what recruiters and employers are actually looking for


How Many References Is Enough? 

Most employers want to speak to two referees minimum, therefore you need to ensure you have at least four ready to be contacted. The information you provide on your CV is completely up to you. You can have each reference listed on your CV in order of most recent role, or you can write “references available upon request”. If you declare this on your CV, ensure that if an employer does ask for those contacts, you have the information readily available. Most organisations want to complete a reference check then and there to gain insight which will assist in their decision making. Make sure you can provide their full names, company and position held and most importantly their up-to-date contact details; a mobile number, land line and email.

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Who Is Best To List As A Reference?

Usually it is best to provide at least one referee from your current company or most recent position and they should be the person that directly managed you. We understand that majority of the time job seekers are applying for roles while they are still in a current role and this makes it almost impossible to ask a supervisor to be a reference. Having their contact information ready for when you do move on is my best advise, keeping in mind we would never contact a reference without you knowing first. To heighten your chances of securing your next role, make sure all the references you list are a direct manager or supervisor who can provide insight on how you worked and when you worked. In the case you can provide referees from your most recent role but that role is not relevant to the new role still include this referee but be sure to also choose someone from a previous role that will be able to highlight your most relevant skills.


Honesty Is The Best Policy 

Some candidates have told me that they prefer not to give their most recent employer or manager as they felt they didn’t have a very good relationship and therefore the reference wouldn’t be very positive. As I do understand this, my advice is to always provide your manager as one of your referees, most companies we recruit for have this in their policies and it could be the difference in securing or missing out on that role. What you can do though is be honest with the recruiter, let them know what the issues were. This will all be reflected in the reference check and if the employer wants to conduct another one from a previous employer then they most always will do so. 


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What Are Employers / Recruiters Looking For

When conducting a reference check first recruiters and employers are looking for confirmation of facts. We compare your CV to what is being told to us over the phone. This includes confirmation of employment dates, position held and reason for leaving the role. We then ask questions relative to the role you have applied for. This usually consists with behavioral based questions with an example of each. Most referees that we speak to are professional and answer honestly and without a personal opinion. If the comments are negative, we delve deeper and ask for examples or more information to help us gain insight to whether this was a performance issue or simply something that can be managed in the future. In the rare case they do have some negatives to say we as recruiters are skilled enough to identify what is reflective of a candidates skills or experience and what sounds like a personal issue or clash of personalities.


The Most Important Thing 

Lastly and most importantly, be sure that your referee knows you have given their details out. Where possible, let them know briefly the role you have applied for and who will be calling them. If you know the person is notorious for not answering their phone or replying to emails it’s a good idea to give the recruiter a time that they have said they are available or even ask the referee to call the recruiter at a time that suits them. As long as your communication with your reference is clear and the importance of this check is acknowledged for your future employment, then it makes a smooth and successful process for both the recruiter and yourself. 


If you are looking for a new role or want to discuss upcoming opportunities please reach out to KLC Recruitment today or visit our JOBS page for more information. 


Written By
Natalie Hinchsliff 

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