So you’ve applied, gotten a call back and aced the interview for your dream job…now what? The only thing standing between you and the job is a reference check, and this step is more important than ever in today’s competitive job market.

Last year OfficeTeam, a staffing and placement agency, surveyed hiring managers about the impact of reference checks. Results indicated that hiring managers eliminate 21%, or 1 in 5 candidates, from consideration after talking with their references.

So what information are hiring managers looking for when they reach out to your professional contacts? Survey results says that the top questions are about your past job duties and experience, and strengths and weaknesses

So what’s the lesson? Make sure you have a solid set of references in place when you start your job search. The D&C published an article on selecting references with insights from Tracey Aiello from The August Group, Matt Taylor from AP Professionals and our Executive Director at RochesterWorks!, Peter Pecor. Their key recommendations for selecting references are:

  • Ask for permission before listing anyone as a reference.
  • Keep your references informed of your activities and job search.
  • Make sure to list professional contacts like old supervisors, managers, co-workers or even someone you’ve volunteered with. Don’t list any friends or relatives.

A great reference can put you head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates, so go connect on LinkedIn or make some calls to line up a strong group and set yourself apart from the competition.

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