One of the most crucial parts of the hiring process is the period when the prospective company checks your references. Generally, this occurs after the initial interview. If you impress the hiring manager or human resources professional during the interview, you may be in line to be hired – but the actual hire usually won’t be made until your job references are contacted.
Job reference checks are conducted to confirm that your past positions conform to what you have on your resume and to ask about your job performance. Companies want to know about the quality of your work! They may also ask questions about how you interact with colleagues, your timeliness, work ethic, and so on.
If you impress the interviewer(s), a good job reference can make you a definite hire. On the other hand, a bad job reference can stop the hiring process in its tracks! The company will turn to the next candidate.
As a result, you want to pick your references carefully. They need to be people who are able to know the quality of your work and your overall work performance. Never pick a reference just because they’re a friend.
Here are the top 4 people to pick as references, in order.
Boss or supervisor
Your boss or supervisor is always the Number 1 choice for a job reference.
In some circumstances, you may not want your current boss to know you’re looking for a job. If that’s the case, it’s best to choose a former boss or supervisor. Contact them and ask if they are willing. If they are, let the interviewer know.
A colleague can also serve as a reference. Pick a higher-level colleague who could speak to your work performance. Colleagues are sometimes contacted to give feedback specifically on how you work with colleagues, as part of a team, and related questions. Choose someone whose responses will be positive.
A supervisor of volunteer positions or internships
Supervisors of volunteer positions or internships you’ve held can be used as references, especially if you’re relatively new to the workforce. They can also be good choices if the duties you performed are more specifically related to your prospective position than your current work is.
If you’re a recent college grad, you may not have a former boss or supervisor, colleagues, or past volunteering or internships. In that case, a professor can be a job reference.
If possible, choose a professor who knows factors that are relevant to work, such as your responsibility level, timeliness, and so on. If the job is specifically relevant to a certain subject, a professor in that field is also a good choice.
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