When asking someone to be a job reference, it’s important to make sure they have your best interests at heart. Some references may damage your reputation instead of helping your cause.
To keep this from happening, here are four factors to consider when it comes to choosing references:
1. Update Your References
Don’t let your references trip on a certain question from your potential employer. To keep them from blurting out the wrong things, make sure they know the key facts about the job you’re currently applying for. It doesn’t hurt to update them from time to time on what you’ve been up to, especially if you want to list them as a reference.
Feel free to share a copy of the job description with them. Talk about why you’re interested in the job, and how you will be a good fit for it. This way, your references will not be caught off guard and will be more prepared for this line of questioning.
2. Face the Improvement Dilemma
Expect your potential employer to ask your references about the areas in which you can improve more. It’s better to talk about this with your references ahead of time to avoid burdening them with the improvement dilemma. Ask them what their thoughts are on the question. Again, this step should not be overlooked. You don’t want your references to hurt your chances of getting in.
3. Showing Up Counts
Make it a point to make sure that your references are responsive once your dream job becomes a possibility. Let them know about the opportunity.
References that are not interested or hard to reach can send a message of disengagement, eventually affecting your job prospects. According to research, slow response from a reference has a direct correlation to an applicant’s performance.
4. Brief your Reference
It’s important to avoid a reference that is vague on the details or doesn’t really know that much about you and your career goals. No matter how positive your candidacy is, uninvolved references can weaken your chances of getting employed.
So be sure to review your successes, strengths and career goals with all of your references to make sure they are engaged, well-informed, and prepared to tell your prospective employers why you’d be a great hire.