Why Every Job Seeker Should Gather References Before Applying to Their Next Job

by Gaby Gramont

Selecting References for Your Next Job | TorchLight

According to a survey of HR professionals, around 96 percent of employers perform reference or background checks during the hiring process. This means, if you are applying for a new job, you can almost guarantee the company is going to ask for references.

While some job seekers may assume they can pull information on their references together at the point the prospective employer requests them, this is a mistake. Whether you are looking for marketing jobs in DC or have another field in mind, gathering your references before you apply for your next job is a must. Here’s why.

You Need Permission

Common courtesy suggests you should ask a potential reference for their permission before providing their contact information to a hiring manager. Otherwise, they may view you giving out their details as an invasion of privacy, which may not lead to a positive reference.

Additionally, by asking permission, you are providing them with advance notice that a reference call may come in the near future. This gives the person an opportunity to prepare what they are going to say, limiting the chances they are caught off-guard.

Most people are happy to act as a reference if their experience with you is generally positive, making this step more of a formality. However, it also gives you an opportunity to confirm their contact details, including preferred methods, before submitting their information.

You Can Assess Their Perspective

Who you select as a reference can play a big role in whether you land a new job. By coordinating this information in advance, you can discuss with each person you are hoping to list, allowing you to gauge whether what they have to say will be positive.

Typically, if you contact a potential reference for permission and they are hesitant to participate, this may indicate what they say might not reflect well on you. If you are relatively close to the person, you can ask them why they don’t want to be a reference and may gain some insight. However, if you don’t have that kind of relationship, it may be wise to assume their reluctance means they wouldn’t be a positive reference.

On the other hand, if someone is enthusiastic to be a reference, they probably have great things to say about you. This is helpful to know in advance, giving you the ability to pick the right people to include.

You’re Working Under Short Notice

If references weren’t requested as part of the application, when the moment arises to provide them, you usually have a limited amount of time to get this information to the hiring manager. If you haven’t contacted anyone about being a reference, you can’t guarantee you’ll hear back quickly. After all, most references are busy professionals, so they might not be able to return a phone call or email immediately.

By gathering them in advance, your reference list will be ready to go at a moment’s notice. This means you won’t have to make the hiring manager wait while you get everything prepared.

Ultimately, gathering your references before you apply to new jobs only works in your favor. Plus, it usually only takes a few minutes to contact those you want to list and make sure they are the right people for the job.

If you are interested in learning more about preparing reference lists or are seeking out new opportunities, the professionals at TorchLight can help.

Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our team can help you land your next job in Washington D.C. &

Posted in Job Search Tips