This needs repeating so I am going to......
Did you know that reference checks have a predictive accuracy of 13% but are
used in 96% of all hiring decisions? To put that into perspective, checking reference
can predict performance at about the same rates as astrology and self-assessment.
References, in my experience, tell you the more about what the referee is
like. Truly, I usually learn more about the person I am calling than the person
I am calling about. Also, they can be full of "I can't recall" and
"you should ask someone else" since many people use referees from
many years back or referees they have never had a significant relationship with.
Take charge of your references so that they help you get that job!
1. Ensure you keep track of your great relationships. Do you know where your
boss in 2005 is today? Try keeping the relationships going after you part ways by
sending Christmas cards, email, including them in social media, or buy a few beers every
once and a while.
2. Use quality referees only, people that have very good view of all
your work behaviours including attendance, project results, teamwork, and
interpersonal skills. Often, a referee from another city can not do this...
3. Prepare your referees with the job ad you applied to, the resume you
applied with and some of the interview questions your were asked. This can get
the referees prepared to match what you did to what the hiring manager needs
4. Go a step higher and give your referees a list of accomplishments while
you worked together, complete with what you did, why you did it, who you did it
with, and what the results were. These can be great memory recalls for a
referee who has many employees, a short memory, or if it has been a few years.
If they want to use some of these examples, the answers will be well developed.
5. Don't burn any bridges unless you are a damn good swimmer! Recent bosses
will be the best referees so make sure your performance is great & make
sure you exit the company gracefully.
Most people leave checking their references to chance. Be different, take
control, and reap the rewards. And hey, you never know - referees could be a great source of jobs opportunities!