Contacting references is a traditional part of the hiring process, allowing hiring managers to gauge whether you’re the right person for their open position. As a result, when you’re looking for a new job, there’s a good chance you’ll need some references by your side.
But figuring out who to ask, when to reach out, and how to ask them is tricky. Not only do you need to select the right people, but you also have to approach the request properly.
Luckily, by using the right method, you can secure the references you need. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Focus on Recent Connections That Can Sing Your Praises
When it comes to who to ask, your biggest priority should be to find recent connections who can speak positively about your capabilities, preferably with clear examples. Generally, recent colleagues and managers are preferable over past contacts, as they can discuss your abilities based on what they are today.
However, you also need to choose professionals who will sing your praises. If there was a conflict between you and a recent boss or coworker, then it’s better to move onto other potential references, even if they won’t be as current.
Additionally, you may want to be cautious if you’re launching a job search while you’re still working in a role. Asking your current manager or coworker alerts your employer to your intention to leave the company, and that can have consequences.
Ideally, you want to focus on strong connections who can speak positively and thoroughly about your capabilities. Choose people who fit that bill, ensuring that they are as recent as possible.
Make Your Request the Right Way
When you’re asking someone to be your reference, you’re asking them for a favor. No one is obligated to act as your reference, regardless of the nature of the relationship or even if you’ve been a reference for them in the past. As a result, you need to approach the situation with kindness and humility.
Usually, it’s best to call or speak with the person face-to-face. Then, frame your request in a way that gives the person an easy out if they are not comfortable talking about your capabilities. A simple “Would you be open to serving as a reference during my upcoming job search?” can be a great option.
If they are genuinely open to it, they’ll offer an enthusiastic “yes.” If they hesitate, even for a moment, thank them for considering it and move on. It’s never wise to apply any pressure, as they may be saying “no” because they have a neutral or negative perception that you wouldn’t want the hiring manager to hear anyway.
Give Them a Rundown
When someone agrees to be your reference, give them some key pieces of information. Fill them in on the job you’re trying to land, and let them review your resume. You can also discuss accomplishments that they can attest to, ensuring they can remember the details. That way, they can speak about you with ease, making the process easier for them.
Say Thank You
Being a reference, as mentioned above, is a favor. Make sure you thank the person both when they say they’ll be one, as well as once they provide the reference. It’s a simple but essential gesture, showcasing that you appreciate them doing this for you and don’t take it for granted.
Ultimately, by following the process above, you can get the references you need for your job search. If you’d like to find out more, the team at GSG Talent Solutions can help. Contact us today.