Advice on Preparing & Briefing Referees

Advice on Preparing Briefing Referees

Congratulations! You have landed an interview for that job you keenly applied for. With step one out of the way, it is time to prepare. While there are numerous ways to prepare for the interview itself, if all goes well, something that your potential employer will almost certainly ask for is your referees.

Don’t Give Them Out Too Early

Many candidates make the mistake of including their referees on their resume, but unless they are specifically called for (eg. some government roles) that is not something that is recommended for various reasons. First and foremost is privacy. Chances are if you are in the job search process, you may be sending off many applications. Giving your referees details out to just anybody could be a breach of privacy, so it is more respectful to wait until you are asked. In almost all instances, referees are not checked until the final stages of the recruitment process, so it is okay to hold off until you are specifically asked.

Credibility is More Important Than Ever

If you do get to the point where you are being interviewed and shortlisted for a role, then it is most likely that your referees will be indeed checked. Back in the day, many people used to try and dupe the referee process. Many of us knew that one friend or colleague who would take those calls and play the role of the previous employer. While that may have been effective in the past, in the era of easily accessible information, websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media mean that checking the credibility of a reference is easier than ever. Many organisations even professionally outsource their background checking processes. Therefore, it is essential to provide credible referees, but what does a credible reference look like?

Don’t Ask Strangers

A suitable referee should be somebody that you have reported to directly or indirectly in the past or in your current role. Whether that be a manager, supervisor or if relevant, even a teacher or lecturer. There are a few reasons that you will want that person to be somebody that you had a direct relationship with. A supervisor and/or manager not only has the authority in the workplace to be able to give a reference that holds weight, but they can directly confirm the skills that you have outlined on your resume (make sure you check out our resume writing guide to best highlight these skills). They can also confirm timelines and other important information that you have put on your resume. Certain skills and experience can also be confirmed by your lecturers and/or teachers- it all depends on the type of role you are applying for and the experience that you have had in the past.

Give Them a Heads Up

Another reason that it is important to choose referees that you have a direct relationship with is that it is always recommended that you ask permission before simply providing your referees details. By establishing permission, you can also brief the referee beforehand on the kind of role you are applying for and prepare them to expect contact, as well as allowing them to know what factors of your employment or what skills are most important for them to mention. Asking in advance will also ensure your boss doesn’t receive a surprise phone call from your potential new employer- that probably isn’t going to go down to well. It could also allow you to request a short, written reference, giving you something you can take to an interview. Beware however, that many organisations will no longer provide written references. A great way around this is to ask a manager or colleague for a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Still Need a Little Help?

A referee list does not need to be long and detailed; choose your referees based on their suitability and relevance. You may even choose to use different referees depending on the job you are applying for.

Unsure about who to ask or need some professional help writing your resume before you even start the job application process? Then our team of expert and professional resume writers at Alpha Resumes are here to help. With experience across the board in helping people from all backgrounds and industries to get hired– there is nobody better to have in your corner. Contact us today and let us help you on the road to landing that role you deserve.

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