Reference Check

By Cheryl Palmer

It's always a good sign when an interviewer asks you at the end of the interview for your references. Employers don't waste their time checking references if they are not interested in you as a candidate. Since employers usually check references as a last step before making you an offer, it's important that you don't neglect this crucial step.

The following are some tips for making sure that this part of your job search process flows smoothly.

Let Employers Know What Your Relationship is to Your References on Your References Sheet
Giving employers some context will help employers know what kind of questions would be appropriate based on what your relationship is to your references. For example, if you have listed a boss as one reference and a coworker as another reference, the employer will probably ask different questions of your boss as opposed to a coworker.

List Different Ways in Which Your References Can be Contacted
It is standard to list phone numbers on your references sheet, but it can also be useful to list e-mail addresses and even Skype usernames if your references are outside the country or otherwise harder to get ahold of. Giving employers different ways to contact your references can speed up the process.

Send Your Résumé as Well as Vacancy Announcements to Your References
If it has been a couple of years since you worked with the people who serve as your references, you may need to update them on what you have been doing, as well as what your job target now is. A recent copy of your résumé can fill in the gaps for your references, and vacancy announcements that are representative of the type of position that you are seeking can give your references more specific information about what aspects of your background they should highlight when talking with employers about you.

Notify Your References After You Have Had an Interview Where the Employer Asked for Your References
It is always helpful when your references have a heads-up and can expect a call from your new potential employer. If they don't know that an employer will be calling, they can be caught off guard.

Let Your References Know When You Accept a Job Offer
It is appropriate to thank your references for assisting you with your job search and let them know what the outcome was.

Reciprocate Whenever Possible
If you can serve as a reference for the people who have been references for you, then that is one way that you can return the favor.

To speak to a career coach about other aspects of the job search process, call 877-743-9521 or send an e-mail to

About the Author

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert, professional speaker, and the president of "Call to Career." Learn more about Cheryl at She can be contacted at, or by visiting Her blog is available at To receive the free report titled "Top 10 Mistakes that Executives Make," visit her website at 

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