Have online recommendations killed the need for references?
Referees are still very relevant in today’s jobs market despite the explosion of social media and online recommendations.
According to Jonathan Sampson, Regional Director of Hays in Japan, online recommendations are great for showing the skills you are best known for but they are not a substitute for the role references play.
“The referees recruiters and employers value the most are those people you reported to directly,” he said. “These people can speak about how you used your skills and experience to add value to their organization. Former managers can also speak to your personal attributes such as reliability, ability to build and leverage relationships and whether you collaborate well with other team members.”
Sampson said it is a good idea to keep track of where your referees are as they, too, may have moved on from the organization where you both once worked. “If you leave finding people until the moment you are being asked for their contact details, it will cause you unnecessary stress,” he said.
“There’s also such a thing as referee etiquette that you should follow when job hunting. It may have been a number of years since you last looked for a job, so you should contact your referees to ask if they are still happy to speak on your behalf before including them on your resume or providing their details to anyone.”
When you know you have been shortlisted for a job or a recruiter asks you to supply at least two referees, it is then time to let your referees know they will soon be contacted and by whom. If you don’t know the specific person, just let them know the name of the recruitment firm or employer organization.
“It’s also helpful to provide your referee with a bit of detail about the job and the key skills, qualifications and attributes the employer is seeking,” said Sampson. “You might also outline some of the examples of your work and achievements that you will be relaying in the job interview from the period of time when you reported to your referee.
“You don’t want to tell your referees what to say but because much time may have passed since you both worked together, jogging their memory about genuine achievements could be helpful to them as well as you.”