“Like time, you cannot readily make more references……Guard them zealously!” –Bruce Dreyfus, S.A.L.E.S. Manual 1982
References are probably the most over abused and misunderstood part of the interviewing process. The references that you give out are like printing your own currency. The more you use them, the less they buy!
Be careful how, when and where you “use” your references. Jealously guard and hoard them. Put yourself in your reference contact’s position. How often would you enjoy being called? Even if the “guy or gal” were a great friend, it would not be long before you (the reference) would get short-tempered with an interviewer and possibly give a less-than-glowing reference report.
1. Only supply references, if an offer is imminent or dependent upon them.
2. Notify your references that you would like to “use” them. Ask their permission. Check what they will say. Find out when they would be available for a call.
3. Always rehearse your references on what you would like them to “say” about you. Have a pre-scripted reference done for them, and offer to email it to them. Email it anyway, even if they say it is not necessary, along with your narrative. Tell them you are sending it “just because they are so busy.” Remember, you are looking for the “hidden job” market also. (A good use of references can often provide that.)
4. Ask them to contact you, if it is not too much trouble, after they have spoken to the interviewer. Ask them to make notes as to what the interviewer asked, as this may/will help you secure the position in your follow-up notes and conversations with the new employer. Thank them ahead of time.
5. As we have said often, use your references sparingly. Rotate your interviewers amongst a small group of them. Keep track of how many times you have asked your references for their help.
6. Have a prepared list of references:
a. prior immediate manager/supervisor
b. prior peer
c. prior subordinate (if none available, another prior peer)
d. prior client
e. prior manager’s superior or another supervisor
Send a thank you note to each reference and keep them apprised of your progress. Stay in touch after you start.
Other Points to Remember:
1. Never supply any CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT CLIENTS, PRODUCTS, VENDORS OR COMPANY without an “OFFER LETTER” OR AT LEAST A VERBAL OFFER in hand.
2. Never put references on your resume, cover letter or initial correspondence or in TFBs.
3. Always ask who is going to call, when and why.
Always confirm that if the references are good–and you know they will be–that you will be receiving a written offer immediately after the reference check.
References are probably the most over-abused and misunderstood part of the interviewing process. The references that you give out are like printing your own currency; the more you use them the less they buy. Be careful how, when and where you “use” them.
1. Only supply references if an offer is imminent or dependent upon them.
2. Notify your references that you would like to “use” them, and ask for their permission. Find out when they would be available.
Like time, you cannot make more references …… Guard them zealously!
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