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Your interview isn’t the last gate between you and the job offer.

The real test comes when the potential employers contact your references. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by choosing the right people to speak on your behalf about your work style, ethics, and long term goals. Before you even start submitting job applications, put some thought into the people you choose as your references. Here are some tips.

Choose someone interested in your success.

A list of former managers isn’t the best strategy for getting the right references. Instead, you should hand pick the right people who have been in your corner since you started working. Talk to former managers and coworkers with whom you had a good relationship and ask them to be your references and so they know they may receive a call.

Choose a good communicator.

It is also critical that your references are good at communicating both over the phone and in writing. Some companies will conduct references over email and others will prefer the phone. Your reference should be able to effectively write about your experience and contributions as well as speak intelligently on the phone.

Choose an on-the-spot thinker.

There will be no way to predict the kinds of questions a potential employer will ask a reference so you want to select someone who is quick on their feet when it comes to answering. They should be comfortable answering any question that is thrown at them.

Choose a person you would still work with.

You should always select a reference that you would want to work with again if it were possible. There are plenty of reasons a job ends that don’t have anything to do with performance. If you moved away or if the manager left the company for another position, they will be able to recall only positive experiences.

Additional tips for references.

Once you’ve selected the right references there are some things you should know before presenting them to a potential employer. Make sure you have current email addresses and phone numbers for three to four professional contacts. Let each one of them know they may be called. Also, don’t forget to update your recommendations on LinkedIn as an additional source of information.



Managing your workforce begins with hiring the best employees. If you’re seeing a constant flow of candidates who struggle in group interview situations, consider sharing this resource with them. Additionally, if you’re looking for the best employees, consider partnering with Anserteam Workforce Solutions. With streamlined staffing across North America and local service, the only ANSER is Anserteam.