If a potential employer is requesting references, then it’s a generally a good sign that things are headed in the right direction (although never assume). At this important stage, it’s imperative that your relationship with your referee is healthy, strong, and positive.
Here are a couple of reminders to make sure it stays that way!
Always, always ask
Check that your referee is available and willing to provide a reference and that you have their current contact details (I know, this sounds obvious). Never assume, based on the strength of your prior or current relationship that the person ‘won’t mind.’
Have the conversation before submitting their name and details formally OR informally dropping them into conversation to add credibility to your candidacy and/or character.
Keep them in the loop
Speak! Yes speak (old fashioned I know)… by voice… not text, email, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media to your referee to update them on which organisations and roles you’ve applied for.
It is ineffective (and disrespectful) to assume that they have gained insight into your job hunt and progress telepathically.
Context is important
Provide as much information as possible to your referee. This includes the company, the role, its responsibilities, and your motivation for applying. Let them know any information on the method of contact (phone, email etc), the person who may contact them, and a timeline. This will work to your advantage.
Your referee’s words may not be glowing if they are woken on the other side of the world at 2am by a well-intentioned recruiter or company representative.
Say Thank you
Your referee is investing time in your career. Thank them. And if you secure the new position, let them know, and thank them again. Don’t let them find out through your next LinkedIn or Facebook update that you have a new role.
‘Lack of Time’ is never a good excuse
Finally, do not use ‘a lack of time’ as an excuse to skip any of the above. You do yourself a disservice as a professional and disrespect the time of those who are working to help you to be successful. Remember ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
The informal reference
Another point to consider would be an “informal” reference. This is a very short reference done prior to an agency putting your application through to a client, which verifies your skillset and adds value to your application.
Be sure to ask your references whether they would be comfortable providing this type of reference as well. In some cases (mainly contract work) this may be the only reference that is required, and it usually only takes around 3-5 minutes to complete.
So, if you are looking to apply for a new role, have your referee’s up-to-date and informed, and be sure to follow the above advice.
If you have any questions about referee’s or any job application processes, please comment below or contact the Speller team!