Are Your References Holding You Back?

Have you ever been in the job market, but have not landed a job despite your excellent credentials? Have you been invited for interviews and seem like a perfect fit, but the offer never comes? You even may have been assured that the job is virtually yours and that completing the hiring process is a mere formality and then silence from the employer.

That sudden silence on the part of the employer could well be caused by a single reference-yes, a single negative reference.

Most candidates believe that their references will all give glowing feedback, positively promoting their strengths and qualities.  That may not be the case.  Frequently, we observe that one negative reference can sink a candidate.

Here are some suggestions to avoid or detect a reference that is not supportive of your candidacy.  First, be sure to cite only references that you know will be good.  Don’t ask for a reference; seek to determine that the person is willing to give you apositive reference.  To determine if you have a reference that is holding you back, you must do an honest assessment of your references. If a previous employer or supervisor is given as a reference, did you depart on good terms with this person?  Are you certain you clarified that you wanted them to provide a good reference?

There are ways you can check what references are saying about you as a candidate.  We recommend hiring a third party (i.e.Allison & Taylor, to conduct these reference interviews on your behalf.  They charge a modest fee, but it is well worth it for the peace of mind it provides

If negative input from a reference is uncovered, what can you do? You could always institute legal action, however, we would suggest a more prudent and practical option-just don’t cite that individual as a reference.  Think of others would serve as a good reference or gather letters of recommendation from past colleagues or superiors. One simple move-checking your references-could be one of the best decisions you can make to propel your career forward.

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