References – Some Reminders for Candidates
As professionals in the engineering staffing industry, we know first-hand that some candidates don’t even think about professional references until we ask for them. The ensuing rush to locate former managers and request their help often leads to unnecessary delays in the interviewing and hiring processes.
As the saying goes, always be prepared!
When compiling a list of professional references, start by contacting your prior managers / supervisors. Direct managers and supervisors are generally the most useful references, as they can speak in detail as to your responsibilities and your performance. Peer references are less useful; however, there are situations in which they can be insightful. If you feel strongly that a peer at a previous employer can contribute to our understanding of your role and achievements, by all means include him/her on your reference list.
Depending on your role within a firm, there are other, less obvious people you may wish to include as references. These include: clients, project managers to whom you reported for a time, trainers and vendors.
This point is critical: Make sure you obtain permission from each person to list him/her as a reference. It’s quite awkward for us to contact a reference whose first comment is “Why is ______ using me as a reference?” Make sure you ask what his/her preferred method of initial contact is (personal cell phone, work phone, work email, etc.).
A few more tips
- Don’t include your reference information on your resume.
- Over the years, periodically contact each reference to ensure his/her contact information hasn’t changed.