People influence people – The importance of the RIGHT referee

Between you and any new role will stand a conversation between your referee and your future employer. Such an important conversation should not be taken lightly, yet how much time and effort did you put into choosing your referee and prepping them for that very important, future defining, call?

People influence people - make sure you choose the right referee at offer stage - Virtue Consulting Blog - Financial Services Recruitment

How long did you spend creating that perfect CV?

When looking for a role we spend time perfecting the application process. It starts with your CV, the cover letter, interview prep, Linked In updates, recruiters, 1st round interviews. It takes a lot of time and effort to look for the perfect role. So why is it, after all this effort, so many people fail to prepare for that final hurdle?

Times have changed

Once upon a time it was enough to have an historical letter written from a previous employer. Simply stating you were a good employee, used your initiative and would be sorely missed. Those days have long gone.

Now references are a lot more specific to the role that the candidate is applying for and usually happen over a 15-20 minute conversation. Referees are asked specific questions that are relevant to the individual role you are applying for and these questions will target many of the skills that are listed in the job description.

It’s not what we can do for you – but what you can do for you

A huge part of the recruitment process is the references. We can find the perfect CV, be genuinely impressed at interview, send you to meet the client knowing you are the right candidate and then it happens… ‘We’d like to offer your candidate the role, pending references’

References are there for one reason – to ensure your previous employers’ endorse the proactive, hard working picture that you’ve created. A wrong word from a less than communicative reference can quickly change your value within the recruitment process . On the other hand, a strong endorsement from the right referee can be the final piece in the puzzle. Thus reassuring your future employer that you have skills, attitude and experience to excel in the job.

With all this in mind, is it not worth taking the time to make contact with your future referees, ensuring they are the right person to promote you and your skill set to this particular role?

People Influence People

We all know the power of ‘word of mouth’ and that is exactly what a reference is.

When you choose someone to be your referee, it is important to make contact with them. The more information they have about the role you are applying for, the better. Plus, if it has been a while since you worked with them, it can be useful to give them a run down of what else you have been doing.

When we ask your referee questions, we need them to refer to active examples of your work ethic, strengths and achievements; these can be hard for anyone to remember. This is why it is valuable to prep your referee before they become an influential piece of your future employment puzzle.

Keep referees relevant

Most of us don’t have a list of referees an arm long, however when supplying your 2 referees, make sure they will be of some relevance to the specific role you are applying for.

If you have applied for a Business Development role, we will ask your referee about your sales skills and how they might split your customer engagement vs customer development skills. If neither of your referees have worked with you in a sales capacity, we are not going to be able to provide our client with the information they need to to confidently offer you the role.

Remember, your referee is endorsing the skill set and attitude that your future employer is looking for. You want to fill your future employer with confidence not doubt.

Don’t fall at the final hurdle

Once you know who you want your reference to be; you need to make contact with them. Don’t just give the names to the recruiter and hope for the best. Call your ex manager or employer and run through the following checklist

  • Speak to your referee before putting them forward. Let them know what you have been upto and why you are looking to move on.
  • Discuss the role you have applied and even send through the job description
  • Make sure your referee has active examples that they can refer to, discuss the role you did when you worked with them and why you think they would make a good referee
  • Have a contact phone number and email and make them aware that someone will be contacting them. Ask them when would suit them – a certain time or day.
  • Thank them. Being a referee is time consuming and takes a lot of thought. They are taking valuable time out of their day to sing your praises.

Lastly, DO NOT put references on your CV. Not only does it take up unnecessary space on your CV, but it lacks relevance until requested. You don’t know who will be the best referee for the role until you have gone for the interview, met the future employers and received an offer.