Experts Remind Candidates That Reference Checks Can be Deal-Breakers Even in Hot Job Market

MENLO PARK, CA -- The results of a reference check often determine who is chosen for a position, and yet, many job seekers adopt more of a reactive approach than they should during the process, according to OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals.

"Despite the candidate-friendly nature of the marketplace, the quality of an applicant's references still plays a key role in the final outcome," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. Domeyer points out that candidates can stack the deck in their favor by preparing their references well in advance. She offers these suggestions:

  • Pave the way - Always ask permission before listing individuals as references. Make sure you include people who can provide information about you and are not limited by a "name, rank and serial number" policy. 
  • Provide reinforcement - Include people who can support facts listed on your resume. Hiring managers prefer to speak with past supervisors; if your job history is short, consider professors, managers or peers from volunteer work or internships, and others who can discuss your work ethic and previous experience. 
  • Give references a "heads up" - Each time you submit your reference list to a prospective employer, let your contacts know that they may receive a call. Tell them something about the job for which you are applying so that they are prepared. Always thank references who offer to speak on your behalf. 
  • Stay in touch - Make references a regular part of your professional network by informing them of the status of your job search. Once you find a job, thank them again for their assistance and give them periodic updates on your career progress.

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