Be Careful Who You Choose to be a Reference

not-to-wearMany job candidates who are looking for a new career opportunity are currently employed.  Most do not want their current employer to know that they are looking for a new job. So be careful who you choose to use as a reference….

Being a reference involves a certain level of confidentiality.  If you are unsure whether a potential reference is going to breach that confidence, DO NOT use him/her as a reference. Yes, he/she may be able to give a glowing review of your professionalism, work conduct and ability to excel in any position, but if you cannot trust that individual, find someone else.

Case in point, I had a former candidate, Katherine, who used a colleague as a reference. When that colleague was called, he went immediately to Katherine’s boss and told him what happened. Katherine was confronted by her boss and ultimately ended up losing her job.

Regarding the type of references, most firms are seeking professional references, not character references (or those from friends and family.)   These professional references can be prior managers, prior customers that you were held responsible for, or team leads, supervisors, etc.

You may have an established list of references to use as needed. Each time you are at the point where a potential employer asks you for those references, call each reference and let them know that they may be contacted.  Ask them again for permission to use them as a reference.  It is best to make sure everyone is fully informed about the situation.