The days when employers ignored, or did not think references were important, are long gone. The best thing to do is plan ahead, don't wait to put together a list of references at the last moment when you think a prospective employer might ask for them. It is especially important to remember that chances are good that your will be checked by a prospective employer.
According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey more than eight of ten human resource professionals said that they regularly conduct reference checks for professional (89 percent), executive (85 percent), administrative (84 percent) and technical (81 percent) positions. Regular reference checks were less likely, but still probable, for skilled-labor, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions. Information routinely provided to references checkers by surveyed employers included dates of employment, eligibility for rehire, salary history, and employability.
Who are they going to ask?
On the average, employers check three references for each candidate. It's important to be prepared to provide them. It's essential to your references, to select the right people, and to talk to them in advance about using them. You need responsive people that can confirm that you worked there, your title, your reason for leaving and other details. The people you list should be able to attest to your performance and your responsibilities so keep your references as current as possible.
In addition to references you may asked for contact information concerning your supervisor. However, prospective employers should get your permission before contacting your current supervisor so as not to jeopardize your current position.
It's perfectly acceptable to use references other than your employer. Business acquaintances, customers, and vendors can all make good references. If you volunteer consider using leaders or other members of the organization as references.
What are your references going to be asked?
Everything from how you would fit the position you're interviewing for to whether you were a dependable employee. Tell your references what type job you are applying for and what you think the employer might want to know and ask them what responses they would give. It is better to get an unpleasant surprise in advance. If the reference isn't going to be positive you can always ask a different person for the reference.
Never tell a lie!
If you're tempted to stretch the truth about your work history - don't. The risks of being discovered are high. The SHRM Reference Checking survey mentioned above found that of the human resource professionals from organizations that use reference checks to verify length of employment, 53 percent discovered falsified information, at least sometimes, during reference checks. And of the respondents who verify past salaries, 51 percent found that job candidates provided misinformation at least some of the time.
What are they saying about you?
You may be concerned about your work history or about what formers employers will say about your background. There are companies that will check your references and provide a report. If the information is incorrect, you can take steps to get it updated. Before you select a company comparison shop to determine the best service and fee structure for your needs.