Everyone knows that a standard part of the hiring process is checking references. Today’s process, however, has changed considerably from what used to take place.

In the past, a reference check amounted to a brief call to a past employer and in some cases to a personal friend or co-worker before extending an offer of employment. This was a simple reference check that may have only included verifying your name and if you actually worked at a certain company. The art of reference checking has expanded.

Employers are looking for a professional reference, at times 2 or 3 references that will be completed by someone in their human resources department who will ask your previous employer about your job titles, employment dates, the reasons you left the company and your eligibility to be rehired at some future time. Other basic fact-type questions might deal with specific tools or software you used, timeliness or absenteeism.

Some of this information will be used in making a decision to hire or not to hire. Moreover, employers often gather information about what to expect and how best to manage you when you are hired.

Are your references most effective and up-to-date? Here are some steps to consider when gathering your references:

  • Make certain to be in contact with your direct or indirect supervisors for the past several years to determine how willing they are to speak on your behalf.
  • Make certain when you ask someone to be a reference for a specific employer that you provide to them as much information about the position and company as possible. Also give him/her the reasons you’re interested in the role. By knowing the kind of environment you would be in, he/she can be prepared to explain how you would be a good candidate.

When you take the initiative to figure out what employers want to know in general, you can take proactive steps to be certain that they get the right answers up front with your references.

What other information do you think employers seek when calling your references?

by Carole Marinier, Blogger for Agilec


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