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References; Who to Ask and How

Posted in Candidates on Nov 09, 2010 by Rejuvenate Productions

Whether you are looking for the next step in your career or are networking for your business; referees are essential.

There are a few guidelines you should be aware of when it comes to references

- Firstly you should always ask permission to use someone as a referee.

Apart from anything else this saves both you and them any embarrassment or confusion.

- Secondly make sure you ask the appropriate people

A previous employer or if you are a recent graduate your course Tutor or Professor.

- Thirdly, you need to have an idea of what your referee will say about you.

The best way to approach this is to ask them to be your referee. If they agree you can tell them briefly about the type of jobs you are applying for, this means they will have a better idea of what experience or examples of your work ethic to highlight to your prospective employer.

- Do not ask a referee to lie or exaggerate the truth.

This can and has resulted in candidates offers of employment being withdrawn by their prospective employer.

- If someone declines to be a referee for you, accept it and move on.

You do not want a perspective employer being given ‘wishy washy’ or ambiguous feedback about you. A less than positive reference can cause as much harm as a negative reference. Employers are usually good at reading between the lines and will pick up on what is not being said.

- Lastly once you have a list of suitable and willing referees make sure you know how they would prefer to be contacted i.e. phone, email, post and that you have their up to date contact details.


You need to be aware that some employers will not provide references, mainly due to concerns about litigation; they will only provide job title, dates of employment, and salary history. If that's the case, be creative and try to find alternative referees’ who are willing and able to testify to your skills and qualifications. Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, and colleagues can all make good referees’.

Hopefully this article will help to guide you in finding and securing positive referees. If you have found this article helpful or would like more information then please contact us via email on

Over the coming weeks we will be bringing you more information on Referees and References so watch this space.

At Key Appointments we want to supply you with relevant and useful information, if there are topics you would like more information on then please email us at


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