This review of the steps in the reference selection process could be the most useful tool for job seekers to have, and the information contained herein is based on our 35+ years of experience in checking references!
- Compile a list of prospective people you’ve actually worked with on a daily basis within the last five to seven years. Eight to ten names should be sufficient.
- Make sure the list contains variety—if possible, at least one superior, a peer, and a subordinate. They should cover a span of years so that the prospective employer isn’t just calling people from your most recent job.
- Base the selection of references on such things as how well you know them, whether they’re friends as well as co-workers, and how trustworthy they are.
- Rank your references based on how familiar they really are with the job you held, its responsibilities, and whether or not they would be likely to have an opinion about your job performance.
- Try to put yourself in the prospective employer’s position and consider who you’d want to talk to if you were responsible for filling the position.
- Starting at the top of your list of references, call each one and specifically and directly ask them for permission to use them as references. Explain why you’re asking and answer any questions they may have.