How to Guarantee a Great Reference

2 mn read

References are a crucial (and often dreaded) part of the recruitment process. By nature, it must be independent, so you are essentially leaving things in the hands of a third party. In an article by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that not all referees were positive when giving feedback to potential employers.

In fact, three key themes for candidate improvement were often cited – confidence, knowledge and communication.These are arguably catastrophic to many roles as they go to the very heart of competencies many employers would expect of new hires. If you either, do not have confidence in what you are doing, do not have adequate knowledge in your area of expertise or cannot communicate with your supervisor and co-workers, then it is difficult to see how you would be able to perform well in a new role. Unfortunately, such views may also not be true or are outdated given many employer’s insistence on checking references with previous supervisors.

Bad references can happen to anyone, so candidates should always be prepared. Several techniques can prove useful to address this tricky area.

Pre-Screen Referees – make sure you only use referees that you can trust and can reliably laud your accomplishments. Take the time to gauge their reaction when asking them to be a referee and provide them with adequate information about the role you are applying for. If they do not feel totally comfortable about attesting to critical traits required for the new role, then find another referee.

Neutralise the Negatives with Positives – if you do not have a choice, then you should try and balance out non-stellar referees with those that can provide more positive feedback.

Go beyond Supervisors – this is particularly applicable to many roles requiring strong interpersonal and communication skills. Tap co-workers and even customers, if you think they can provide better insights into how you would perform within an organisational context. This will also help you stand out from other candidates.

Check Your Own References – if you are uncertain about a referee, then you should check their feedback yourself, either through a trusted friend or by a formal reference checking company

Endorse Sheet has several built-in features allowing you to incorporate all of the above techniques.

Validated Endorsements – collect specific feedback on your role competencies, personal attributes and career achievements, to counter potential negative references

360 Degree Profile – collect endorsements from supervisors, co-workers and peers, to ensure you provide an up to date and accurate picture

Instant access and on-demand – make your references and endorsements available anytime to employers with a digital profile. Provide it at the start of the recruitment cycle so employers can immediately consider you as the preferred candidate.

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