When writing your CV who do you choose as your referee?
How do you determine who goes into that’s section that could very well determine if you get a job or not?
Contrary to popular belief that employers rarely contact referees, the job market has changed and the need to perform background checks on candidates has therefore increased.
“Your CV just tells us what we need to know about your qualifications for the job. Your ethics as an employee are what comes up during back ground checks. How were you relating to others? Would your former employer hire you again if given a chance?” says Muthoni Ndegwa, a recruitment manager at Corporate Staffing Services.
This means that “references available upon request” is outdated and you should not be including it in your CV.
Hiring takes a lot of resources and as such companies want to be sure that they are hiring the right person.
And in a world where companies would rather use recruitment firms to recruit for them, be sure that background checks will be a must.
Who can be your referee then?
Work-related references are generally more potent than personal ones since they can attest to the way you operate and what you are capable of.
Choosing from your most recent place of work is ideal but it can be problematic if you don’t want your current employer to know you are looking for a new job.
Never choose family members, fiancés, friends of the family or a neighbor unless they know you professionally.
The best referees are people who know you well – that is, a person you worked most closely with at your last job or the lecturer you got along with for fresh graduates.
Obviously, it helps if you had a friendly working relationship with them too. You see at the end of the day, you want to choose someone who will write a good reference and be as positive about you as possible. [ What You Didn’t Know About Referees ]
How then do you ask for professional referees?
1. Ask a direct supervisor or professional mentor
Assuming that you have good professional relationships, you supervisor or mentor is the best person to act as referee.
The reason is that these people know you best professionally. They have seen you work and can attest to the way you do your job.
If you also left you former job in good relations with your boss, they can also attest to your work ethic, after all, what happens when you never used to report to anyone but your boss?
2. Inform them beforehand and give them plenty of notice
“There was one time I had to call a referee for one of the candidates I was interviewing. He was working at a big organization and his referee said that he didn’t know him. After a few days, he was able to reach out to me after remembering who the candidate was. You can imagine the embarrassment,” says Ms Ndegwa.
It’s very important if your referee knows beforehand that they may be called upon anytime to speak on your behalf.
When you get that interview invitation, inform them that you have been invited for an interview and have listed them as your referees just to prepare them.
3. Give them some background information about the job
Besides informing your referee that a certain company might call them for a reference check, you also don’t want them to be clueless about what they will talk about.
Give them some information about the position, the skills and experience they are looking for and how you fit into all that.
At the end of the day you want to do everything you can to get the job and an employer hearing about your qualifications from a third professional party is a plus.
4. Inform them how you intend to use their reference
There are so many ways references are given. You would need to clear this with your referee. Will they be contacted via a call?
Will the company require a written recommendation letter? When you know the specifics you know what to tell your referee so that they can be prepared.
What it all boils down to is, regardless of who you choose as a referee, what you need to remember is that they are doing you a favor. They are not obliged to vouch for you and hence the reason you need to treat them well.
Bonus: Always maintain an ongoing professional relationship with your referee so that they don’t forget about you. Don’t just be reaching out when you need them to speak on your behalf.