Job Searching 101: How to Choose Great References

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You spent hours on your resume. Done all your homework and aced the interview. Now, you just have to submit your list of references and the offer could be yours. But how do you choose? PrideStaff, one of Tempe’s top employment agencies, can help. To ensure you’re able to successfully navigate this last leg of the hiring process, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be strategic.

Your references shouldn’t simply be a list of people you’ve worked with in the past. Instead, take a more thoughtful approach to those you submit. After all, you want the insight and feedback they give a hiring manager to be consistent and showcase your strengths and abilities. To do that, they need to be able to speak to who you are as a person, what it’s like to work with you and where you excel.

Provide the most relevant references.

When you have to deliver a list of references, ask the hiring manager if there’s something specific they’d like to evaluate. For instance, if they want to check a certain ability or skill – like project management – you’ll want to list individuals as references who have been a part of past projects you’ve led.

Include a mix.

Oftentimes, candidates will send in a reference list that simply includes peers and co-workers. But hiring managers want to hear from those who have supervised you in the past. So make sure you’re including a mix of colleagues and managers. If you’ve been in a leadership position, then also include those who have worked under you. This will provide a more comprehensive perspective on your background and why a potential employer should choose you.

Prepare your references.

Before submitting your list, make sure your references are well prepared to talk about what distinguishes you. Give them information about the company, the position, and where you think you can make the biggest contribution. Then discuss the specific areas where you’ve worked closely with them that are important to communicate. The more relevant their comments, the more persuasive they’ll be.

Highlight any commonalities.

If the hiring manager and one of your references went to the same college or they share a mutual connection, let your reference know so they can bring it up in the conversation. Familiarity breeds comfort and common ground can often mean more influence.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught unprepared when you’re at the end of the hiring process. Instead, follow the tips above to put yourself in the best possible position to deliver great references and get the job.


Need more help with these and other aspects of your job search?


Contact the team at PrideStaff. As one of Tempe’s top employment agencies, we know what hiring managers are looking for in potential employees and can help you increase your odds of getting hired. Contact us today to learn more or get started.