The references are your next hurdle in the process of crossing the line first. Here are a few tips and examples of the outcome of both good and bad references. Who should you choose, and why honesty is usually the best policy in the end.
First off, be sure that your referee knows that they are your reference. It’s inconvenient when a stranger calls you to ask loaded questions, so don’t allow it to happen to your previous employer. It will not only come across extremely unprofessional of the caller- but you (being the topic of the conversation) will be even further in the deep. When you apply for jobs, give your previous employers a heads up, that they may be receiving calls over the next few weeks/months regarding your work performance. Then it will be fresh in their minds what your performance was, which reflects closer to the type of worker you are now, rather than how you were 10 years ago.
Choosing the right person is key. You need someone who had authority within the department and/or company, who you believe liked you at least a little bit. Someone who witnessed and contributed to your professional growth would be the ideal candidate for a reference. Keep in mind that there are always two sides of every story in regards to your reason for leaving the company, and if there is an inconsistency in stories between yours and your reference, it could raise a red flag in the recruiters mind.
Collect two or more references, just one won’t do- unless you’re new to the job hunting game and have all but one source of experience- and if THAT reference is bad.. well…
Normally Recruiters and HR have a standard document with similar questions for every reference. Questions such as… what were […] responsibilities? what were […] greatest strengths/weaknesses? why did […] leave? what does […] need to improve upon? And probably the golden question of the conversation: Would you hire [… ] again? These talks take about 10-15 minutes, and in that time the recruiter will probably find out a lot more about your role than you informed. If there are similarities good and/or bad coming from each individual reference, it could mean that you are either consistently doing the same work , improving or not learning from your mistakes.
Should you put your references on your CV? Yes, no, maybe? It varies, maybe you don’t have enough room and you wish to keep your CV as minimalist as possible, or you may think the other names will make things look more legitimate, to be honest we don’t mind either way.