A quick how-to if you will about references:
As a foundation to your overall reference plan, get written references. As an option, you can offer to write the recommendation as long as they agree with the information and essentially sign off on the reference letter. By doing this, you have a proactive way to combat a reference who is less than prepared, distracted or unenthusiastic on the phone.
Remember to get permission from your former human resources department to provide you with your employment evaluations. In fact, you can â€“ and probably should â€“ find out exactly what your current and former employerâ€™s reference policy is. Written information can be a powerful testimonial and may negate more lengthy phone calls to your current references.
Also, ask your reference how they would like to be contacted â€“ at home, by cell or by e-mail.
Incorrect phone numbers will waste time and hurt your credibility. Even with a correct phone number, if a reference calls and does not respond quickly it can hurt you. It shows they may not care enough to respond quickly or give you high marks. Silence can be deadly here.
Lastly, make sure you review a few questions your references might want to know. Focus on some of the following topics with your references so you agree:
- start and end dates of employment
- the reason for leaving
- positional responsibilities and achievements
- work ethic
- communication skills
- team focus
- willingness to re-hire
- general strengths and weaknesses
Do what you should do to anticipate how important references become in your search. They are important. Silence and mere neutrality can be fatal in the world of references. Your investment of time, energy and preparation for interviews should not be derailed by bad, lukewarm or silent references. Donâ€™t get off track during your next, critical career move. Ride the rails. Be proactive and prepared when it comes to references.
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