Many people leave the question of references for job interview to chance. They crate a list of three or four people who they have worked with, put down their contact details and give those to the target HR department when asked. With just a little bit more work, however, it's possible to turn references from just a formality that you go through into a key piece of your strategy to get the very best job offer possible. If you do some advance work, you can make
your references do the important work of backing up your candidacy using the same kind of reasons and examples that you used in your interview for the position. This will strengthen your case for getting the job, and make sure that the target company makes you the very best possible package to get you.
As in all things, getting great references requires some early effort. There is an old saying, applicable to many fields, which goes something like "build your bridge before you need it." In the case of references, that means don't put off securing the assurances of a reference until the target company is ready to start calling and checking. On a long-term basis, make an ongoing effort to keep in touch and on friendly terms with people who you have worked with in the past. Try to keep up with where they are in their careers, and to be an acquaintance and resource for them in a way that will ensure they have positive feelings about you when they are asked for a reference.
More References for Job Interview Advice
Closer to the day of the interview, there is another step you can take. As part of your research for the target position, you will undoubtedly have performed investigation into the requirements of the job. You will also have done the advance preparation to link up the kind of experience and results you have achieved in your job history with the experience and results that the target job requires. Before you give the target company your reference contact information, send your references a friendly notice beforehand. In this notice, tell your references about the position you are applying for, why you are excited by it, what the company is looking for and why you believe that you have these attributes. Most importantly, remind the references of the times you demonstrated these attributes when you worked with them.
For instance, you could send a reference for job interview a note that says the following: "I'm applying for a position as sales manager at Acme Waffles. I'm really excited by their training program and believe that I'll get a lot of great experience there. Acme makes an effort to hire sales managers with a lot of experience running promotions internally. I feel like I learned a lot about that working with you at Paradigm Pancakes." By reminding the reference of the elements you intend to talk about in the interview, you guarantee that the two of you reinforce each other.
Keyword: references for job interview
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