Businesses often contact your references when you’re a final candidate for a job. Since this step is so close to the hiring decision, your references have the power to persuade the hiring manager. Choosing the right people to support you is critical, but how do you pick the best people to help you land the job?
Here are a couple of tips to help you select and prepare references ready to discuss why you’re the perfect candidate for a job.
Choose Enthusiastic References
One of the most important things about a reference is how excited they are about you as a candidate. Regardless of whether your reference discusses your work in numerous details or vouches for your abilities to meet deadlines and exceed expectations, a hiring manager notices if your reference hesitates or lacks enthusiasm when they talk about you. Excitement about you as a candidate is just as important as the dialogue of your previous work performance–and sometimes, it’s even more important to the hiring manager.
When asking former supervisors or colleagues if they can be references for you, also discern if they can speak about you with spirited confidence. Your opportunity to land a job takes a nosedive when references hesitate about you. Avoid listing folks who express doubts about you, and focus on the ones who are boldly positive about your future in the workforce.
Provide Guidance to Your References
After selecting your references, offer guidance on what you want them to express to the hiring manager. This preparation ensures that your references are communicating the right information to assist you in landing the job. In addition to sharing the job title and description, let your references know the following information:
- The necessary skills for the job and which of your skills directly apply to it
- The characteristics that make you the best candidate for the job
- The characteristics that are special and specific to you–and would also be advantageous to the business–and make you stand out from the competition
- Examples of how you’ve grown and overcome challenges as a professional
Keep in mind that if you were let go from a job and explained your perspective to the hiring manager, give a heads-up to your references in case the hiring manager asks them about it. Again, anything that might cause your references to hesitate about your candidacy is something to proactively avoid.
References can make or break your chances of landing a job, so choosing people who are excited about you as a candidate and prepping them to give you an outstanding recommendation is essential.
What tips would you add to this list on selecting and preparing references? Share your perspective with us below.
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