Reference checks are an important part of the selection process. Your referees can be the difference between a job offer and a near miss.

Referees are people who know you well. You can find referees as a result of your association in the workplace, or through other activities in which you've been actively involved.

Employers contact referees during the recruitment process to gather additional information or to investigate any concerns they may have. It is essential that you choose referees who can talk confidently about your conduct, and provide supportive examples of your work or involvement. This way they are able show that your skills are relevant to the job.

It is common for two or three referees to be requested by an employer. Character or personal referees, and written references are usually not required.

Include your referees at the end of your resume. You can either write ‘Referees available upon request’ or, if specifically requested, list their names, contact details (phone and email) and the relationship of your referee to you (for example, manager or supervisor).

Prepare your referees

To help your referees give you the best recommendation possible:

  • Ensure that you have previously asked their consent to be your referee.
  • Discuss with them the types of jobs you are applying for and provide them with a copy of your resume.
  • When you find out you have an interview, forward details of the job (including a position description) to your referees and brief them on what the employer is looking for and therefore know what sort of questions to expect.

Need some more help?

Next: Psychometric testing