At some point during your job search, you know references will need to be provided. Hiring managers value the opportunity to discuss your prior experiences with current or former bosses and co-workers. However, how these calls take place doesn’t always line up with what you may picture, and they may even contact people you don’t expect. Here are three things you need to know.
They Contact People Who Aren’t on Your List
Many candidates assume that hiring managers only seek references from the list of people you supply. However, they aren’t limited to just those individuals. If you and the hiring manager have mutual connections, they may reach out to them to get information1, especially if you’ve worked with or for these professionals in the past.
Typically, there is one particular call that is considered off limits: your current employer. Hiring managers understand that not all job seekers are openly looking for a new position, and that your current manager or company might not know of your intentions. With that in mind, most hiring managers won’t jeopardize your current job by contacting them for a reference, unless given explicit permission to do so.
Bad References Aren’t Illegal
Some job seekers are under the impression that giving a bad reference is somehow against the law. In fact, there is no legal precedent that prevents someone from giving a bad reference, especially if the information they provide is accurate.
A job reference is subjective, and your previous supervisor or former co-workers do have a right to their opinion regarding what it was like to work with you. This is what makes selecting the right references to add to your list so important, as you want to get the hiring manager in contact with professionals who will speak positively about working with you.
However, even if a supervisor or co-worker wasn’t pleased with your previous performance on the job, many will choose not to provide a bad reference. People don’t want to burn bridges, and speaking negatively of someone is one way to do just that.
Not Contacting Your References in Advance Can Hurt You
When you include someone on your list of references, hiring managers assume the person is anticipating their call. If the reference who answered the phone is surprised when they are contacted or struggles for a moment to recall who you are and why they were being contacted, it doesn’t make a great impression.
It is always smart to reach out to your references before you supply their names to a potential new employer2. First, this gives you a chance to get their permission to include them on the list. Second, it lets you assess what kind of reference they will provide. And, third, it gives them a heads up that a call may be coming their direction.
This approach ensures all parties are prepared to provide the kind of information a hiring manager will request and makes it easier to ensure what they have to say will be positive.
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If you are interested in finding new employment opportunities in the area, the skilled team at Employ Partners can help you explore your options. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our professional recruiters today and partner with a top staffing agency in Atlanta.