Are Your References Selling You Short?

By Paula Santonocito

smw - are your references selling you shortIf you’ve been searching for a job, by now you know the drill. As part of the application process, you provide references—generally people with whom or for whom you’ve worked; the understanding, at least from your standpoint, is that your references will sing your praises and therefore potential employers will know you are the person for the job.

Choosing Your References

But is this how it really works? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be no.

One of the nation’s leading reference checking and employment verification firms, Allison & Taylor, indicates many people end up with bad personal references that derail their chances of landing a job.

“People spend a lot of time working on their resume, brushing up their interview skills, and networking during job searches, but many fail to select their professional references carefully,” says Heidi Allison, the firm’s president. “We check references for clients and approximately half of our calls to former employers produce an unexpected bad reference. The bottom line is that people need to select their references more carefully.”

Allison says there is a common misperception that, when contacted for a reference, former employers will only verify if a person previously worked for them and provide her or his job title.