This Crucial Part Of The Job Search Process Is Often Overlooked


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Your job interview could go phenomenally well and if your references don’t check out the way you assumed they would, you should go ahead and forget about your much-prepared performance because it’ll no longer matter.And the problem is, most of us will never know why we didn’t get the job.

Jeff Shane, vice president of Allison & Taylor, told Randy Woods at NWjobs that about half of all job-seekers’ references reviewed by his [reference check] firm contained negative information that could potentially harm a candidate’s chances of getting the job.”

“I’ve had many clients say they had good interviews and thought their experience was perfect for the job, but then they suddenly find out they didn’t get it,” Shane says. “The employer will almost never tell you the real reason they didn’t hire you was because of the bad reference.”

Although most people adhere to reference guidelines that say you should only confirm whether or not a candidate worked at the company, and their start and end dates, it’s rare that these are the only details divulged in the conversation. For example, someone’s tone can reveal a lot more than what they actually say. 

The two most important things that jobseekers can do to prevent their references from eliminating their chances are to include the information only if a prospective employer specifically requested it and to only include professional people.

Shane says that when jobseekers include the information on every resume, they won’t know who’s contacting their references nor will they have a chance to warn them ahead of time. 

“Never assume that your key references will give you a neutral review,” Shane says. “Make sure when you leave a company that you ask your supervisor to be a reference. Some are passive-aggressive and will talk behind your back, and some just won’t do it at all, but if you discuss it with them first you’ll probably get a better review.”

You should also skip the personal references and only include those with whom you’ve worked with so that they can “vouch for your performance.”