How to Handle Job References for Employers

These days I’m on both sides of the job fence. As a business owner I\’m in the position to hire, and as a freelancer, I\’m always looking for the next job. I’m not really sure which one is easier, but I do know that job references are always important.

In the entertainment industry approximately 80% of all jobs are filled through referrals. That’s the reason it seems like you have to know someone to get a job, but the truth is, you really do. Payroll is one of the most costly things a business owner has to contend with and you have to make sure you get it right. That’s why job references are so important.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to your own references:

  • Always ask if you can use someone\’s name – You want the most enthusiastic references you can find and they should all be genuine. By calling a reference beforehand you can get an idea about where they stand. They might not be as enthusiastic about you as you think they are, for whatever reason. Or they might be in the middle of their own personal crisis and not up to jumping for joy to help you out. If you don\’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling from them you need, don\’t add them to your list.
  • Choose the right mix of references – Don\’t just put down your previous boss, pick a mixture of different people in different job titles. Sometimes a co-worker can explain a side of your personality that a boss would never see. A community leader with klout or someone with a high profile who could vouch for you might be a good choice.
  • Be prepared – Give your reference a copy of your resume and a list of possible questions that might be asked. Let them know the job you\’re applying for and the person who will be calling. Make sure your previous experience matches up with the job you\’re applying for.

What has been your experience with job references?