Unlocking the Power of References
References are a crucial component of the hiring process, offering valuable insights into a candidate’s character, work ethic, and abilities. From an employer’s perspective, making informed decisions is vital to building a successful team. It is also important to explore the art of reference checking, identifying who you should and should not use as references, and providing other helpful advice to ensure your hiring process is thorough, reliable, and effective.
Who to Use as References
Past supervisors are an excellent choice as they can provide unique perspectives on your performance, teamwork, and leadership skills. They can offer valuable feedback on how you performed in real work scenarios.
Colleagues and Team Members
Peers can provide insights into your personal ability to collaborate, communicate, and contribute as part of a team. They can also shed light on your interpersonal skills and work dynamics, considering they have had a front row seat to observing your personality and how you handle all forms of situations.
Clients or Customers
If relevant, obtaining references from clients or customers you have interacted with can be beneficial. This can help gauge your customer service skills and how you handle professional relationships. References from clients can reveal your adaptability and problem-solving abilities. Clients may share instances where they had to handle unique situations, adjust to changing circumstances, or provide creative solutions to meet the clients’ needs. This type of feedback showcases your ability to think on your feet and deliver exceptional service even in challenging scenarios.
Who to Avoid as References
Friends and Family
References provided by friends or family members may be biased and lack objectivity. It’s best to avoid relying on such references to ensure a fair evaluation of your suitability for the role. Not to mention, if you recommend friends or family as one of your top references, it gives the impression that you do not have enough professional relationships.
Someone you hardly have a relationship with may not have your best interest at heart. Be sure to avoid seeking references from people you have not had much time working with, hardly know, or someone you have not checked in with in a long time.
Disgruntled Former Employers
Negative references from previous employers with whom you had a contentious relationship may not provide an accurate representation of your capabilities. Do your best to avoid using these people as a reference.
The Right Questions to Ask
Keep in mind the employer’s point of view and consider which questions they may ask your references. Here are some sample questions they may ask your references:
- How long did the candidate work with you, and in what capacity?
- Can you describe the candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement?
- How did the candidate handle challenging situations or conflicts?
- Did the candidate demonstrate strong communication and teamwork skills?
- Would you rehire the candidate if given the opportunity?
Trusting Your Instincts
Reference checks are one of the main tools employers use to assess candidates, therefore, when considering who you should write down as a solid reference, trust your instincts. Only you know the relationship you have built with others. Make sure to choose people who have seen your work ethic first handed and can corroborate that you are a good fit for any future positions with new employment.
References are valuable resources that can significantly impact your future employers hiring decisions. By knowing who to approach for references, being mindful of who to avoid, asking the right questions, maintaining confidentiality, and combining insights with other evaluation methods, you can build a strong resume that will assist in your future employment endeavors.