Work references are crucial to any job search, even when switching jobs within the same company. Recently, Team Office, a major placement firm, released the results of an independent survey of hiring managers, showing the importance of references AND what the hiring managers were seeking from references. You can read the full official release here
The main findings were that 21% of candidates get booted from consideration based on references. The references were asked primarily about past job duties and experience (36%) or about “a view into the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses” (31%). By contrast, confirming job titles and dates of employment was most important to only 11% of hiring managers.
Office Team has some recommendations that I’d boil down to:
- Choose people who are willing and happy to provide good references
- Give them the materials they need—your resume, the job(s) you are applying for and who may call
- Make sure you have all the email/phone info available for the people requriing the references
- Keep good relations with past supervisors, etc. in case the hiring company calls people not on your official list
- Thank people for helping you and keep them up to date on the results of your job search