Yes, references still matter! In fact, hiring managers are being even more diligent these days about checking references. Why? Because candidates can say anything online. They can pretend to have experience, training and even degrees that they don’t possess. Hiring managers want to validate what they’ve seen and make sure your real-life potential matches what you’ve posted.
So who should you ask to provide you with a reference, and what is the best way to go about it?
Ask three or four people who know something about your work ethic, your accomplishments and your personality. If you’re a student or a recent graduate, ask a faculty or staff member who knows you well. You can also ask a former or current manager or supervisor. Some experts say you can ask a current or former colleague, but hiring managers would rather talk to supervisors because they can probably best summarize your performance—what you were getting done, whether or not you reached your goals, how you respond to feedback, and what kind of management you work best with.
Once you’ve identified who you want to use as references, here’s how to proceed:
- Always ask in advance. You need to make sure your references are on board and aware that you’re giving out their name and number. You don’t want them to be caught off guard when they get a call about you. And some of them may have a valid reason for saying no. You want your references to sound positive and informed when hiring managers call them.
- Help them prepare. Tell them what types of jobs you’re looking for and the kinds of companies you’re applying to. This way, they can think about what they’re going to say about you and hopefully be able to speak to your strengths in those areas.
- Give them a heads up. If you’re at the point in the interview cycle with a company where they say they’re going to contact your references, you should contact them first! Tell them who will be calling and share the details of the job and company. If you’re really interested in the job, be sure to tell them why.
- Always follow up. Any time one of your references helps you, you should send them a thank-you note. And after the interview process is over, whether you got the job or not, you should always let them know the outcome. It’s rude not to, and it could lead to your reference not wanting to help you again.
In a tight job market like supply chain, you want to make sure your references are as good as can be! Need more tips on how to stand out in the field? Call ZDA Supply Chain Recruiting today!