Career advice

Tips on selecting referees

Referees are crucial to securing a job because what they tell an employer can potentially make or break your chance at a position within the company. Therefore, it’s very important you select your referees carefully.
Here are some tips for preparing and selecting referees.
  • Make sure you get your referee's approval before giving their details to an employer. No-one likes to be sprung upon with questions without preparation. This could end in disastrous results for you.
  • Always put forward a work related reference. After all, you are being assessed by what you are like as a colleague and an employee, not as a friend or a sibling.
  • Make sure your referee is going to give you a glowing reference. Don’t put someone forward just because they were your manager or boss. It’s better to put someone forward who has less authority that will talk positively about you. 
  • Make sure your referee’s contact details are current and up-to-date. If an employer can’t contact your referees easily they may suspect they are false or simply give up. Provide more than one contact number plus an email address if you can.
  • Let your referees know you have applied for a job, or had an interview, so they can be prepared.  Give them details about the position and what is required of you. That way the referee can be ready when the employer calls. The more preparation your referees have the better the outcome will be for you.
  • It is important to keep in regular contact with your referees so that the relationship remains strong. Keep them informed on your job search activities and be sure to express your appreciation for the time they put into your references, regardless of the outcome. Let them know when you secure a role and remain in contact to update them on your progress.