Skip to main content
Candidate Help & Advice

References from Beyond Your Reference List

Employment Reference List photo from ShutterstockReferences are a key component in getting a job. Who can verify that you know your stuff?

Traditionally, references are supplied when an employer is getting ready to make an offer. Recently, I have had two clients who had very different experiences as it relates to references.

Asking for References after a Phone Interview

I have a client who is a very experienced technology professional. He had a phone interview with a technology hiring manager with a regional retail firm. The interview went very well! Afterwards, the recruiter asked for a list of references.

My client became a bit incensed that he was being asked for references so early in the process. He did not want his references to be bothered until he knew he wanted the job.

The recruiter told him that they would instead contact the people who recommended him on LinkedIn. What!

My client was still incensed, but relented and supplied a list of references.

He asked me if they could do that? My response was YES!

Do you have LinkedIn recommendations from people you would prefer prospective hiring managers to not contact? You do not have to display all of your recommendations. You can hide recommendations!

Behind the Scene References

Behind the scene references have occurred for a long time.

This starts with an employee referral. When someone passes your resume to the hiring manager, he or she becomes a reference.

I recently had a client who got a job because of a behind the scene reference. I wrote about “Susan” in my post, Moment of Clarity – Fending off a Layoff.

Susan’s marketing position was eliminated, so she was facing a layoff. She interviewed for a position in the Learning and Development function. Susan has extensive experience in Learning and Development, but she had been in the marketing function for an extended period of time. After the interview, the hiring manager talked to a few people who Susan had worked with in the past. These people were Susan’s behind the scene references.

The hiring manager did not ask for a list of references. The hiring manager therefore, did not need to ask for permission.

Susan later found out one of those references was absolutely key in landing the position. If she had not done some detective work, she may have never known who had helped her land the position.

Usually, behind the scene references come from employees at your target company.

However, recently, I had a client get a positive reference from the neighbor of the hiring manager. The hiring manager’s neighbor was a colleague of my client at a company five years ago. How did the hiring know this? He did his homework on LinkedIn.

This is why it is critical that, when you leave a job, you never burn bridges. Make sure you leave on a positive note.

Have you receive references from beyond your reference list?

Marc MillerCareer Pivot

Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

Do not forget to follow me on Twitter or FaceBook