Let’s be honest. You didn’t put much thought into your references. One is an old boss. Another is a dude you knew in college that looks like he made a name for himself. Another is a relative with a different last name that you are pretty sure won’t be noticed. You think to yourself “these won’t matter.”
Well, they might. According to an article at AOL Jobs (http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/09/13/reference-check/?ncid=webmail), as many as 1 in 5 potential jobs are turned down because of the reference check. That’s an amazing 20% of all applicants. However, the reason that they are being turned down is not what you may think.
Why Applicants Are Being Turned Away
According to the poll numbers, most employers do not call references to see how awesome an employee you were. They call to see what your job duties were. You have your job duties on your resume, and you explained your job duties during the interview, yet still 20% get turned away. This can only be due to two possible reasons:
- You lied or exaggerated on your resume.
- You chose a reference that either didn’t know all of your tasks or failed to communicate them effectively.
We will discuss the second one in a later post. What we can see, however, is that lying (or exaggerating) on your resume can have some serious repercussions. If you claim you “worked with” a piece of software, yet you only worked with it for a week a year prior to leaving, it is unlikely that your reference will mention it, and chances are you will be seen as a liar. You did not even lie, but your exaggeration over how much you used the software caused you to lose out on a great job.
That is why it is important to both be honest and choose the right references. Find someone that knows all of the tasks you had, and can communicate them effectively. In the next post we will look at how to choose your references, followed by a post on informing your references of these jobs.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Choose the right references.
- Don’t lie on your resume.
- Don’t take references for granted.