Are Your Job References Ignoring You?

It could happen to you: you get through a series of job interviews and you get an offer—which is contingent on your references checking out. So you call your references to let them know they’ll be getting a call from a hiring manager about you. And they don’t answer your calls. Or your emails.

What do you do now?

The first thing you have to ask yourself is: did I ask this person’s permission to be used as one of my references? Hopefully you didn’t just assume it would be okay.

The second thing you have to consider? Maybe you left the job on good terms but didn’t wow your superiors and coworkers when you were there.  Maybe they’re ducking your calls now because they don’t want to give a bad or indifferent reference.

Your third step involves a choice. You can find out whether your references have just moved on to another company. Check them out on LinkedIn or check in with some mutual acquaintances to see if they’re still reachable at the same phone number and email you’re using. Or, you can find new references.

If you don’t have a long job history and don’t have other employers who can serve as references for you, this part might be trickier. Did you have jobs or internships in college where someone could vouch for your skills and work ethic? A former professor or advisor (if you’ve only been out of school for a few years)?  Are you acquainted with a well-known local minister or politician? If you know anyone who has some sort of standing in the community, ask them if they will vouch for you.

One more option: if your current manager thinks highly of your work, you can tell the potential employer that you’d be fine with them contacting your current manager once you have an offer. You just need to be sure you’ll get a good reference.

And remember, from now on: make sure your references are ready and willing to speak on your behalf any time. Second, always stay in touch once you leave. Between LinkedIn and Facebook, you should be able to keep on top of your former coworkers’ comings and goings so you always know where to reach them.

Or, contact the professionals at Morgan Hunter. We can help you find your next great opportunity with some of the Midwest’s top organizations.

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