Have online recommendations killed the need for references?
Referees are still very relevant in today’s jobs market despite the explosion of social media and online
recommendations, says recruiting experts Hays.
According to Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, online recommendations are great for showing the
skills you are best known for but they are not a substitute for the role references play.
“The referees recruiters and employers value the most are those people you reported to directly,” he said. “These people
can speak about how you used your skills and experience to add value to their organisation.
“Former managers can also speak to your personal attributes such as reliability, ability to build and leverage
relationships and whether you collaborate well with other team members.”
According to Hays, it’s a good idea to keep track of where your referees are as they too may have moved on from the
organisation where you both once worked. “If you leave finding people until the moment you are being asked for their
contact details, it will cause you unnecessary stress,” says Jason.
“There’s also such a thing as referee etiquette that you should follow when job hunting. It may have been a number of
years since you last looked for a job, so you should contact your referees to ask if they are still happy to speak on
your behalf before including them on your resume or providing their details to anyone.”
When you know you have been shortlisted for a job or a recruiter asks you to supply at least two referees, Jason says it
is then time to let your referees know they will soon be contacted and by whom. If you don’t know the specific person,
just let them know the name of the recruitment firm or employer organisation.
“It’s also helpful to provide your referee with a bit of detail about the job and the key skills, qualifications and
attributes the employer is seeking,” said Jason. “You might also outline some of the examples of your work and
achievements that you will be relaying in the job interview from the period of time when you reported to your referee.
“You don’t want to tell your referees what to say but because much time may have passed since you both worked together,
jogging their memory about genuine achievements could be helpful to them as well as you.”
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.