Unlock Your Career Potential with Stellar References: A Comprehensive Guide

Let’s Prepare the Ground

You may not know what questions your potential employer will ask the person you’ve listed as a reference, but it’s still a good idea to prepare them. First, it’s important to inform them that you’ve listed them as a reference and that they may be contacted. Although this may seem obvious, not everyone does it, and you certainly don’t want your previous manager to be caught off guard by such a phone call. It’s best to ask the person you want to use as a reference if they’re willing to speak about you if your potential employer contacts them.

Reference Check Questions

When a prospective employer requests a reference and contacts the person you provided as your previous employer, they are mostly interested in finding out if you are the same person you presented yourself to be during the interview. The following questions will almost certainly be asked during such a conversation:

Did you actually work there, and why did you leave the company?

The questions will mostly be related to your work. The prospective employer will want to ensure that you actually worked at the places you listed in your resume. They will ask about the specific dates, as well as whether you were in a superior or subordinate position to the person providing the reference. They will almost certainly ask why you left the previous job. At such times, it is essential that your version of events matches what the person giving the reference says about you. If you claim that you left by mutual agreement, but your previous employer says that you were fired, then this cannot end well. You should always tell the truth when asked during the interview why you left your previous companies.

What was your job performance like?

After the prospective employer asks the usual questions, they may want to delve a little deeper and ask about your performance at your previous job. In general, they are interested in your strengths, weaknesses, whether you can work in a team, and what results you achieved in your job. The following questions may also be asked of the person giving the reference:

• Can you mention some positive qualities about the candidate?
• How would you describe the candidate’s interpersonal skills?
• What motivates the candidate the most, in your opinion?
• Would you hire the candidate again?

The Importance of Choosing the Right Reference

The answers provided by the person giving the reference carry significant weight, but it is equally important who gives the reference about us. Most employers consider it essential that you provide a reference from your previous managers. A leader is more likely to form an objective opinion about you and provide useful information to your future employer. You should always provide a reference with whom you worked for at least a year, as they have spent enough time with you to form an opinion.