The Best Way to Get a Job Reference to Write a Recommendation


If you're a finalist for a position, companies will typically contact your references. But the reference check could determine whether you land the job because you might not be the only finalist.

When a hiring manager calls a reference, they want to learn more about your skills, areas for improvement, working style, and compatibility with the team and corporate culture you want to join. Here are three procedures to follow to make sure you choose the best references and that they are ready to talk about why you are the best candidate for the job.

Select the appropriate references

The most crucial factor to take into account when deciding who to list as a reference is who can be the most enthusiastic about you as a candidate, regardless of whether you choose your former manager who can describe your work in detail, colleagues from other departments who can speak to your ability to work across a global, matrixed organization, or external clients who can attest to your ability to influence without authority. Passion counts just as much as what people are saying about you (if not more).

Your prospects of landing the job can be destroyed by hesitation. Ask if they can be a passionate reference before asking them to serve as one. Don't add that person to the list if you detect any doubt. I contacted two references for each of the two outstanding prospects I chose while I was hiring for a position. One applicant's recommendations were obviously more positive, which convinced me to hire them.

Get Your References Ready

This is your chance to get your references ready so they can concentrate on the appropriate things to assist you to get the job. You should at least confirm that your references are aware of two things.

Give them the job title and description first. They should also be aware of the information you want them to give the recruiting manager. Is there anything you failed to mention during the interview that would have been beneficial for them to know, such as the fact that you enjoy working in an ambiguous environment, that you're an adaptable learner, or that you have a knack for going in-depth to comprehend a problem before coming up with solutions?

Don't forget to offer examples for any information that you want your reference to use in their speech. If you're unsure about what to include, think about these inquiries:

What particular skill set is essential for the position, and which of your particular skills are directly applicable to the position you're looking for? What characteristics make you a strong contender for the position? Your capacity to coordinate stakeholders or to plan and carry out strategic actions? Do you maintain composure in the face of strict deadlines?
What distinguishing traits set you apart from the other potential candidates? Do you contribute a special viewpoint to the organization that no one else could have because of your particular background?
Is there anything that needs fixing that your reference might take care of? Make sure they have a mechanism to respond to inquiries regarding your shortcomings or potential areas for improvement that you've diligently worked to resolve. For instance, if you struggled to transfer projects as the business grew, give your reference examples of how you've subsequently overcome that challenge and are now able to adjust to change fast.

Last but not least, make sure your reference is aware if you were fired from a job due to poor performance and provided the recruiter or recruiting manager with an "alternative perspective" to justify your leave. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for one thing that makes them pause. Don't let it be the case that your reference was unable to respond enthusiastically and positively to a query.

Control Backdoor Reference

Many employers will ask for "backdoor" references, i.e., people you've worked with but aren't on your list of references. If they had a direct confrontation with you, then those references might be less sincere in their portrayal of you. Unfortunately, this does occur, and if the hiring manager knows someone who works there and you left a firm in an unprofessional manner, it can hurt your application. Even if you've changed or learned from the situation since then, your past actions could still come back to haunt you.

Check LinkedIn to see if you have any connections in common with people who might not be able to provide you with a good backdoor reference. Maybe a previous coworker of yours is now employed by the new business where you want to work. Consider whether it is worthwhile to contact any mutual contacts you come across who are familiar with you and your job to learn more about their opinions of you. Even if you don't discover any links, keep in mind that everyone knows everyone else.

When a coworker of mine was in the last phases of the interview process for a new job, the hiring manager politely asked him if he was still actively working at his current employer because they had heard different reports about whether he had left the organization. It was obvious the hiring manager was aware of his leave of absence, which he had taken in order to continue working before being let go in a political coup. In response, he said that although he was paid, he wasn't working since he was on leave due to some temporary medical concerns and that he intended to return soon.

His candidacy was in trouble since he could detect the recruiting manager's doubt and worry in his voice. He offered to put the hiring manager in touch with a person who could confirm the reason for the leave wasn't more sinister. Without specifically requesting the reason for his leave of absence, the hiring manager called me and started to grill me. My enthusiasm and conviction for my colleague's work, character, and integrity were able to convince the hiring manager to take the final step and offer him the position without disclosing my colleague's personal situation or mentioning the fact that he would be fired upon returning through no fault of his own. Now he occupies the C-suite.

Building strong working relationships is the best method to make sure that everyone you work with has good things to say about you. Find your champions who understand your worth at every job. Consider holding a reflection meeting to fix any relationships that may be suffering as a result of you perhaps offending someone or not being at your best. Even if you think the other person was a part of the conflict, talk about your memories of your work at the time and explain what you learned or could have done better. A future backdoor reference's viewpoint may alter if you demonstrate self-awareness and personal development. Which would you choose: doing the right thing or having your ideal job? Even if you can't stop people from criticizing you, you can learn from every encounter and use that growth to impress others when you get the chance.

Related Post

SASTRACENTER-Get ready to tell your boss

Get ready to tell your boss you’re leav

Before Get ready to tell your boss you're leaving. You ...

First Time Manager

Mastering the Art of First-Time Management: O

Problems that come with being a manager for the first t...

How Women Strengthen Decision-Making on Board

Greater gender diversity on corporate boards has become...