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Control what your job references say about you

reference check

Direct what is said in your references checks

Controlling the reference checks conversation

For most of us, the reference checks stage of a job search either scare us shitless or we don’t realize how important this step is. Depending on our personality type, we think of one of two things when it comes to reference checks.

  1. The job is in the bag and nothing will go wrong.
  2. In the back of our minds, we worry that the reference checks will turn something up we need to explain.

Most candidates get to this step and pray, but HRNasty’s gotch’ your back. We leave nothing to chance and we have a Nasty move to ensure we don’t fumble when we are 1st and goal. I got you on this.

We are going to take this step to the edge and show you how we can instill confidence in our employer and our references reinforce that you are the golden candidate.

6 references

We have presented our formatted list of 6 plus candidates. Yes, 6 references! You can read why this specific number in last weeks post titled “How many job references should you provide”. Even though the hiring company only asked for 3 references, we are going to present 6.

The first thing we want to do is to call up our references and let them know we listed them as a reference and someone from the hiring company will conduct the reference checks. This is just plain ol’ common courtesy. Ask anyone who has been part of a reference check process, most candidates don’t make this call.

We want to provide our reference checks with the following information:

  • We listed them as a reference check
  • I am applying for this specific position with this specific company
  • Let them know we are going to forward the job description so they know exactly what the role is

The way we are going to make this reference check a slam-dunk is by asking our references to reinforce the reasons we are being considered and remove any doubts our potential employer may have. We want to convey the following to our reference checks.

  • The company is looking for XYZ skill set and qualification, can you make sure you let them know I can provide XYZ skill set and qualification? Maybe tell them about ABC situation where I demonstrated XYZ skill set.
  • The hiring company may have doubts about my skills in this particular area. Can you let them know that I am solid and provide them with this example of my expertise or share with them a time when I learned a similar skill very quickly?

This isn’t a demanding request

This may sound like we are being pretty demanding, but trust me, your reference will be much more excited about this call if they have something specific to share and are assigned a mission. Otherwise, they just go into this call blind. No one wants that.

Armed with the above information, your reference checks should not have any problem giving the hiring company exactly what it needs. This call will make certain that the hiring company has no doubt about your qualifications. The hiring company has confidence in you as their newest employee.

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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