How to choose a referee for your CV
CAREERS' panel of expert recruiters answers a reader's question each week. Have a question? Email email@example.com
Do I have to provide referees? I've heard one that I've listed isn't singing my praises, despite agreeing to be one for me.
Reference details need not be provided on your resume, however you will need to provide referees at some stage in the process. Most people will ask for this reference to be a direct report from your most recent role. If you think there might be some issues in the reference, be upfront about this in the interview. If you do find out that your referee is sharing a different view on your performance than you do, this could be managed through an honest conversation with them but you may need to source alternate referees. Remember, a key to good referees is good performance!
While you are only required to provide references if an employer requests them, it is often a good idea to give them even when they're not required. Referees are valuable for recruiters and candidates alike, as they can validate information provided during interviews and provide further insight. However, it's important to pick your referees carefully! If you find that one of your referees isn't singing your praises, it may be worthwhile to ask for feedback, as it may highlight areas for self-improvement.
Head of Organisational Psychology Consulting,
Stillwell Management Consultants
You do not need to provide referees at the application stage and it is common practice for a candidate to put "referees available on request" in their CV. If you proceed to interview stage, the recruiter or hiring manager will generally ask you to provide one or more referees who have been in a position which enables them to give a fair and objective assessment of your performance - e.g. a former manager. If the only referee you have who would be so positioned is the person providing the unflattering account, it may be worth asking them if they would be willing to meet with you, then informing them of what you have heard and asking if it is correct and exploring with them why they have this view of your performance. At the least, this may provide valuable feedback for you to guide your future performance and it may also enable you to correct any misperceptions they may have had which could be influencing their judgment.
Yes, employers require you to supply at least two referees. If one of yours isn't providing a credible endorsement of your skills, experience and suitability for the roles you are being considered for, you'll need to find an alternative referee. Bear in mind that the referees employers value the most are those people you reported to directly. Former managers can speak about how you used your skills and experience to add value to their organisation. If you do not have another former manager to ask, consider asking a client, customer or business contact you worked closely with, or even a university tutor or mentor. Steer clear of personal references from family or friends, as these are generally disregarded. If you have lost contact with a potential referee, connect with them on LinkedIn and re-establish your association.
For more Careers news, advice and reader questions answered, visit adelaidenow.com.au/careers
Originally published as How to choose a referee for your CV