Solid references are a critical aspect of a job search. Be selective when creating your list. After all, when you ask someone to be a reference, you expect them to help you seal the deal — not take you out of the running!
Do not underestimate the impact negative feedback can have on your chances of getting a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, three in five employers have called a reference, only to have the person speak poorly of the candidate. In fact, 69% of employers have said they changed their minds about hiring a person after speaking with a reference.
4 Types of People to Avoid as References
Who are your references? If your list contains anyone from the following four categories, omit them now, so you don’t regret it later:
Bosses You have Clashed With in the Past
Former supervisors make wonderful references — but only when they like you. If you had a tumultuous relationship with a boss in the past, don’t expect them to say good things about you during a reference check. Even if you have patched things up since then, the interviewer may ask a pointed question that forces them to reveal your rocky history.
Family and Friends
You can certainly trust your family and friends to sing your praises, but even the most well-meaning personal references won’t hold much merit in a hiring decision. Employers want a serious professional, not someone who only has their mom or best friend to vouch for them. Find a person to speak on your behalf who will not appear biased, due to the nature of your relationship.
Anyone Who Does Not Know You Personally
It can be tempting to ask a company executive or a well-known professor to serve as a reference, as their name carries a lot of weight. However, even if they agree to this, you should think twice. It is important to have a reference who actually knows you, so they can answer questions about both your work and your character. Having a high-powered reference is great, until the interviewer realizes they don’t even know you well enough to answer basic questions.
Someone Who Has Previously Fired You
This may seem obvious, but some people actually do make this mistake. If a person went as far as to fire you, it is unlikely they are going to speak highly of you. Even if the incident occurred years ago and you are now on friendly terms, they could still touch on unflattering topics. You can never be too careful when it comes to your career.
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