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6 Reasons to Check Your References Before Embarking on a Job Search

Source | TheStreet : By Brian O’Connell

There is something of a myth making the rounds in career management circles that former employers aren’t supposed to say anything negative about you in a job referral situation.

But that really isn’t so, notes Allison & Taylor, a Detroit-based reference checking firm.

According to the company, half of the thousands of reference checks the firm manages, have “some form of employer negativity — typically from either former supervisors or Human Resources personnel.” In Allison & Taylor’s words, “what you don’t know can — and almost surely will — prevent you from getting new employment at some future date.”

It’s not always intentional. According to the firm’s data, former employees often “inadvertently” provide information that goes against things you’ve written and said to potential employers (especially on a resume).

To mitigate any career damage, there are a few things you should know about “why” you need to check your job referrals, so you can ensure that you get the best possible referral, when you need one:

1. Know the risk of being unaware of a referral — “If your reference is offering any negativity about you whatsoever, it will put you at a disadvantage against other candidates whose references are either glowing or neutral,” Allison & Taylor states. “Your odds of landing that job will be negligible at best.”

2. Potential employers won’t tell you about a negative referral — Instead, they will simply tell you that they have “decided to go in a different direction” or — more likely still — you will simply never hear from that company again,” the firm states.

3. Calling a confused reference convinces hiring managers you will be a bad employee — “If you can’t get your references in order, how will you do when you’re under real stress at the job?” says Pierre-Renaud Tremblay, director of human resources at Dupray, a steam cleaner and irons services firm. “Frankly speaking, if I don’t get absolutely glowing words of praise from the reference, I do not hire that candidate,” added Tremblay, who has called 400 to 500 references in his career. 

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