Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Select the Most Effective Professional References

How to Select the Most Effective Professional ReferencesWhen you’re interviewing for a job, the professional references you offer can play a major role in a hiring manager’s interest in you, so you’ll want to choose wisely. If you’re about to go through the interview process, here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing professional references:

Think about who that reference is as a person

Of course you want to choose someone who will offer up positive words about you, but you’ll also want to select a professional reference who will do well on the phone with a hiring manager.  Make sure that the reference you provide can think quickly on his or her feet, will be polite when chatting with this individual, and will actually answer the phone. If the person is notoriously difficult to get a hold of or is slightly abrasive, you may be better off choosing someone else.

Consider how that individual knows you

Before you select a professional reference, you want to make sure that the individual you’re choosing is the most effective person for the task. If you’re applying for a position that’s different than those you held earlier in your career, you’ll want to make sure that your reference can speak to your current skills and abilities, and not just to those that you utilized earlier in your professional life. Even if their words are positive, if they’re not really pertinent to the job you’re trying to land now, they won’t be as effective.

Make sure it really is a professional reference

Even though your aunt or your mom’s best friend loves you, they’re not the best choice for a reference. When you hand their name over to a potential employer, it makes it seem as though you lack connections in the working world and didn’t have anyone else who could speak on your behalf. Make sure that the person you select truly knows you in a professional sense, and isn’t just someone who thinks you’re a nice person.

While a hiring manager wants to know that you’re experienced, skilled, and passionate about the job, the professional references you choose can have a major impact on your ability to land a job. Select them carefully in order to increase your chances of landing an offer.

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Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

1 comment

  • Good points. The thing to remember is that for many, many positions, especially senior-level ones, references may not get checked until the employer is ready to make an offer, not at the beginning of the interview process.