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Reference and Referee Reports.

As part of the recruitment process the  employer will do a reference check to confirm your credentials and check a range of work related skills to ensure you have not misrepresented yourself on your resume or at the interview.

They will want to know if you can do the job and what personal qualities you can bring to the job. Depending on the job they will also check out;

  • your job title and responsibilities

  • how you performed your tasks

  • your level of commitment to the company

  • any achievements or outcomes you have claimed on your resume

  • how you work in a team or without supervision

  • your team leadership or management style

  • how you take direction and work with others

  • your strong points as well as any weaknesses

  • your potential to learn new skills

  • your readiness to take on more responsibility and to perform at a higher level

  • your integrity and character

These are just a few of the reference check questions they may ask, and it will depend on your role, so as you see you need to pick your referee carefully. It must be someone who can answer the above questions It is wise to have two referees from the one company if you can.

 

 What is the difference between reference and referee?

There is a lot of confusion about the terminology a 'work referee' and 'job reference'. Because 'referees' are generally associated with sport many younger people and migrants don't understand what they mean in employment terms. Also the English language can be confusing at times and I don't intend to give a grammar lecture. It has nothing to do with British verses American English. In Australia this is what we mean by referee and reference although even employers get it wrong.

 A referee is a person who has agreed to talk about your work, character and integrity as listed above. They would ideally be someone who has worked above you such as  supervisor and the person you reported to. You must get permission to use a person as a referee.

 Your referee will give provide a verbal report (a reference) to a prospective employer (over the phone). 

Many people put their referee's name and contact details on their resume. This referee has agreed to speak to an employer to give you a reference. Confused? Well yes. In other words, a referee is a person who will provide a referee report (a work reference) over the phone. It is wise to have two referees from the one company if you can get one. 

A reference is a written document verifying your work history, dates of employment, positions held and how you performed your job etc. It provides your job history and perhaps personal qualities you displayed while working. Some people will provide character references from church leader or someone that knows you.

 Some companies have a policy of not giving work or character references or they may be written by the Human Resource Manager who will take details from your employment file. Your immediate supervisor may be asked for input.

 References are not as credible as a referee report. Nevertheless you must try and get a reference before you leave your employment. Referees move on and you may be left without a reference report or referee report. Character referee reports are a little more credible for someone looking for their first job.

You do not put "references" on your resume. It will always be a "referees".

 

 Should I put my referees name on my  resume?

 

This is a job interview tip that is rarely touch on in other literature for preparing for job interviews.

 

 Due to the changes in the Privacy Act and the electronic age which means people send their references to a large number of companies it is my opinion should no longer put your referees on your resume, especially if posted on internet job boards (especially specialised ones or third party sites). Some jobseekers send their resume to  everyone and sundry.

 

Your resume is confidential and you need to be sure that whoever has your resume is reputable. Who has access to your resume? Seek and Career One are very reputable as your resume goes directly to the company that advertises the job and no third party sees it.  Your privacy as well as your referee's privacy may be compromised, particularly when you show the referee’s home and business addresses. You should just put,  "Due to privacy concerns referees provided on request." 
 

It has been said by some employment firms that employers view the absence of any referees, even when you put on your resume "referees provided at the interview or on request," as a negative. Tough bickies. You are being ethical by not putting them on. Make sure you remind them it is a privacy issue by using "due to privacy concerns". and "upon request of referees, for privacy....". Surely they would not object to this. Certainly none of my clients have reported that this was an issue.

 

 If you put your referee's name on your resume some employers do a reference check before they get the applicant in for an interview. Even if a jobseeker doesn't give a referee the employer may still go ahead and ring the company.  

 

Is this ethical? No I don't think it is. What if you are still working for the company and are looking to change jobs?  Your application letter and your resume should state that your application is confidential if you are still working for a company. Don't advertise your availability to just anyone and certainly do not use LinkedIn. You may want to add to your resume – “please contact me if you intend to contact my referees”

  • Ensure you take your reference letters and a list of referees, with their contact details, to the job interview to give the employer if they are not on your resume. 

Many referees do not understand that their report may lose an employer a job and they need to realise how important the role is. They may get busy and not provide an adequate referee report. See a case study in How to Prevent Your Referees From Sabotaging Your Job Interviews By Iris Wood. Published in Ezine Articles

 

This following strategy is better than worrying your referee all the time as some are working on mine sites on a fly-in-fly-out basis for example, or may move from project to project. Further they may be out of the office when your prospective employer rings the company. The exception is government jobs. 

 

Tips on how to approach and prepare your referees.
  • Ask your referees for permission to name them as your referee and let them know what is involved to give them to opportunity to decline.

  • Send them your resume with a cover letter stating the type of jobs you are going for (especially if it is a career change). For example, your referee may not know you have been studying and have a lot more skills than you used in you last job.

  • Send them a copy of the advertisement If you get a job interview and let them know when you are going for the interview, and then let them know the result.

Government jobs require answers to a lot of job related questions, including how you get along with people, and phrased in such a way to find out what sort of person you are. So ensure the referee understands the government recruitment process and has a copy of the advertisement, and perhaps your application, (depends on your relationship with the person) because being a referee is a lot of work, especially for a government job.

 Remember that some employers, often unfairly, don't consider some reference letters as being very credible. Also it is common knowledge that many employers, especially in government will give someone a good referee report  in order to get rid of them. So having a referee is important.

 

Lastly, Nurture your referees.

  • If you know they have been contacted, phone them and let them know the outcome.

  • If you don't get that job you will have to go through the process again and again so keep them informed.

  • They may be able to give you some feedback on the questions the employer asks.

  • You will be able to address any concerns at your next interview.

If you do get a job send them a thank you note and/or a gift.

 

Beware of social media. - How you behave on of social media could affect your career.

 

I said this when facebook first came out that you must be careful about what you put on facebook.  It is there forever and employers are now checking social media to find out more about you. They don't need character reference check these days, they can judge you themselves. Never talk about your employer or tell people or put yourself out there as looking for work. Anything you put on facebook or other media will end up biting you!  If you don't believe me, Google your own name.

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