Who Do I List As My References?

Dear RSL,

I am going to my second on site interview for a position I really want.  The company has asked me for a list of references.  Should I include personal references, peer references, managers or a combination?  What types of questions does a company ask a reference?

Great question!  A company asking for references is a good sign! When you are preparing your list of references, it’s always good to have a combination of people including at least two people who you have directly reported to as well as one or two peers.  There really is no need to add a personal reference unless it is an entry-level position or a first position.

To answer your next question as to what to types of questions a company asks references; that depends upon the company and what type of position you are applying for. Generally, the questions will revolve around work ethic, attendance, reason for leaving, ability to be rehired, etc.

Do you know what your references will say about you? Although my current position does not include conducting reference checks, I have conducted plenty of reference checks in my past.  What always amazed me is those candidates who give me a list of references and one or two people on their list give them a
terrible reference.   Have a conversation with them before adding them to your reference list.  Ask them what they are going to say about you.  Don’t just assume that they are going to give you a glowing reference.  If you’re not sure what they’re going to say when called by a potential employer, don’t include them on your reference list.

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn: Resume Survis Lady or www.linkedin.com/in/billye

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Resume-Survis-Lady/150368705033497

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine S (Photography and Design)
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 01:03:58

    As usual, you have offered valuable information and insight into “getting the job done”. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Keyuri Joshi
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 12:08:12

    Great guidance! One can never assume that a reference is going to be a stellar one. When it comes to our future well being, we’ve got to do our homework before making our choices.

    Reply

  3. Catherine Lockey
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 15:35:39

    Great advice Billye. I have seen references give poor recommendations myself. This information helped me guide my daughter in choosing her teacher recommendations for college. She did what you suggested and asked her teachers what they would say about her if they recommended her. i also told her to mark her references as non-private – meaning she could view them. it was these teacher references which tipped the scales in her favor.

    Reply

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