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Tips on selecting referees
13 December 2017
After your interview, a good reference from your chosen referees can be the difference between getting the job and being turned down. Employers will be interested to know how you performed in previous roles compared with how you came across during the interview.
If you have several referees available to contact, you should put on your CV "references available on request". That way you can decide which person is most suitable for supplying a reference for each role.
Eight tips on selecting referees:
1. Your referee must be aware that you are giving their details to an employer. It's unprofessional and unfair to provide a referee's details without their consent and you may not get the feedback you're after.
2. Inform the referee beforehand what the role is, they can then tailor their reference depending on what needs highlighting and what is irrelevant.
3. Put forward a former employer. If the interviewer wants a personal reference they will say so, otherwise it should be a professional one.
4. Choose someone who will give you a positive reference. Don't select someone purely on the basis of either superiority or how close you were to them. A supervisor who you worked closely with, for example, will know more about you than a manager you had little contact with. Likewise, a colleague you're close with may know you well, but probably won't be recognised as authoritative enough to be your referee.
5. The way your referee communicates will reflect on you. If someone has something very positive to say about you but doesn't communicate well on the phone or isn't very good at writing emails then it lowers the credibility of the reference.
6. Keep in touch with your referee, they should know where you're up to with your job search and when their services will be required. This also means you'll be aware of any contact detail changes, which you can then pass on to the employer. If a referee can't be easily contacted, employers might think you have given them false information or may give up trying to get hold of them. If possible, provide two contact numbers and an email address.
7. If you can, choose a referee who will almost always be contactable, as opposed to someone who goes on regular holidays or works away a lot, if an employer is on a tight schedule and can't get hold of your referee quickly, it could jeopardise your chances.
8. After your interview inform your referees that they may be contacted soon. It will give them time to prepare the reference.
Don't forget to thank your referees, when they accept and when they provide the reference.
Did our tips on selecting referees help you secure the role? Why not take a look at our other articles on the Michael Page Career Advice page.