How to Get the Best Possible Recommendation from a Job Reference

Choosing the right people to list as references when you’re interviewing for a new job is an important part of the process, but just as important is making sure they’re prepared to sell you as the best candidate. First, when asking someone to be a reference, ask if they can be an enthusiastic reference. If you hear any hesitation, don’t list that person. Second, prepare your references to focus on the right areas to help you secure the job. They should know what information you want them to convey to the hiring manager, including anything you were unable to or forgot to mention during your interview. Finally, do what you can to manage “backdoor” references: someone who has worked with you but isn’t on your reference list.

Companies usually call your references when you’re a finalist for a role. But you may not be the only finalist, and the reference check could determine whether you get the job.

When a hiring manager calls a reference,…

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This article was written by Marlo Lyons and originally published on