Friday, April 18, 2008

Call Your References Before Anyone Else Does

When I graduated from college I worked on campus in one of the labs. From all reports I did a good job. When I left the managing professor said I could always use him as a reference. Therefore, for years I listed his name on my reference list.
Years later I saw him speak at an industry conference, and said hello afterwards. He remembered me, and was happy to see me.

I wonder now if he did get calls by my potential employers. I probably listed him as one of my main references for up to six years after I left. During that time I'm sure he had a lot of interns go through his lab.

Now that I call references regularly, I can tell those who were recently contacted to give them a heads-up about a reference call. I can also tell those references who haven't heard anything about the candidate in years.

When you are listing references, always give them a call to let them know they may be getting a call. This allows them to be ready, and also to catch up with you on what you are doing. A prepared reference can think over what they remember, and many times give a more accurate account of your tenure with them. This in turn leads to a better reference for you.


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog. It's wonderful!

I was given a long list of references from a client. The first four people I called on the list had no idea who I was talking about. Not a good sign...

Amy said...

Yes, it is tough to feel confident about a person's job performance when they aren't remembered. Thanks for the comment.