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When to give work or job references?

We received a lot of questions regarding job references and this article will provide some details about when to give job references to a perspective employer.


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Providing job references is necessary to secure employment in most situations. Some candidates who are heavily networked, may not require formal references, but will rely on ‘word-of-mouth’ or verbal referrals. Typically the sales industry tends to work in this fashion. But for the rest of us, the best time to give references depends on a few details.


We outlined two scenarios with respect to providing references:

Employer asks for job references early in the process


Sometimes employers will ask for job references before you are interviewed. Usually the request is presented in an application format or through a job placement agency. You have a couple of choices, you can ask to delay providing until after you have interviewed or provide the job references when requested. Since you want to protect your references from getting too many calls, you will want to ensure that you are serious about the job before giving the company your list of names and contact numbers.


If you do not want to give your references until after the interview, you may jeopardize your chances of getting the job.


From our experience, employers with good recruitment policies, should not be asking for them upfront.


Employer requests job references later in the process

For professional or ‘white collared’ jobs, employers will usually ask for job references when they feel you are a good candidate and wish to extend a conditional job offer. In other words, if they like you, they will tell you you are hired unless the references or other background checks are unacceptable.


In any situation, you may need to play by the employer’s rules. Failing to do so, may decrease your chances of getting a job with the company.


Do you have any feedback or experience when dealing with references and employers? We would like to hear about it.

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    • Josh says:

      Hello and thank you for your comments. We enjoy receiving feedback on our website and will take your consideration with the highest regards. Thanks again and feel free to stop by and comment again.

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