Job Search & Interview

What Is Purpose Of References In Job Application?

Preparing a professional reference list to attach to the updated resume can be confusing and complicated. However, there is a difference between having close associates and distant colleagues. I will discuss the purpose of references and how crucial they are during the application process.

The Introduction to Industry References

Since professional references provide relevant details about a potential job employee, they are required and can extend the process. In addition, they also allow hiring managers to use sources as evidence.

In a study conducted by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), “more than 80% of human resources professionals check employment references for most candidates.” Therefore, the practice plays a significant role in the final interview stage aside from other qualifications.

Here are a few examples I recommend you read to know who qualifies as a reference:

  • Colleagues–An associate you worked with at a previous company can be an excellent source. They can provide first-hand knowledge about project collaborations and team achievements.
  • Supervisor–While a supervisor contrasts with an employer, they have the industry authority to verify your character as a worker. Their opinion is critical regarding your work ethic and ability to follow instructions for specific tasks.
  • Advisor–An advisor you knew well during your college career can attest to your growth as a career specialist.
  • Former Employers-A previous boss or hiring manager can provide the best insight into your competency. They know your previous job responsibilities at your job and how you handled them.

Why the Purpose of References is Crucial to Know

Since employers use a professional reference list, a lack of sources can hurt your chances. It can also lead an employer to choose another candidate. Before you complete a job application, there are several factors to consider.

Confirming Employment Dates

Before hiring a suitable candidate, employers assess specialized experience by validating past work dates. Therefore, details can demonstrate the candidate is serious about the position.

Following Exceptional Reference Tips

Since references influence an employer’s decision, it is the candidate’s responsibility to submit solid recommendations. Not only can they help someone secure a job, but they can also prove credibility.

A helpful suggestion for all job searchers is to provide favorable perceptions as a crucial element in screening. The more associates vouch for you, the greater your advantage over another candidate.

Validating Employee Credentials

A potential employee who produces a professional reference list can verify a job applicant’s work performance. They also trust in their capacity to contribute to the organization. Employees should supply direct and helpful references while looking for a new job.

How Qualified Sources Contribute to the Hiring Process

One critical advantage of job application references is the validation of competencies. On a resume, any job seeker can appear knowledgeable and capable. However, they will likely face disqualification if they cannot find someone who can solidify their skills.

Motivational speaker Brian Tracy once stated:

“The smartest business decision you can make is to hire qualified people. Bringing the right people on board saves you thousands, and your business will run smoothly and efficiently.”

Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs noted during a speech:

“When you’re in a start-up, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.”

A legitimate hiring manager would want to speak with your present or previous employers and coworkers. Furthermore, the purpose of references is to ensure that your performance matches the needs of an organization. Strong recommendations can give you the advantage over another candidate with a similar resume.

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Why Consulting Past Industry Associates Matters

Some individuals list colleagues without asking permission. Not only do they risk creating conflict, but they can also ruin their professional reputation. While one associate may reject the inquiry, another could grant an interview to an employer.

Ensure your references know the situation to avoid catching them off-guard if they receive a call from the employer. If you have their current phone number, consider calling or texting them. Email is another practical method to relay names and contact information, mainly when seeking approval.

Why Preparation is Vital for Job Application References

Some individuals fail to realize they have to validate past jobs. However, the process doesn’t always start after the first interview or after completing an application. Therefore, being one step ahead can get you far as a candidate.

In 2012, a representative for Careerbuilder gathered statistical data regarding reference authentication. As a result, they included the following information from industry employers:

“80% of the 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals surveyed said they do contact references when evaluating a job candidate; 16% contact references before they even set up an interview.”

The statistics show a firm reliance on industry sources because they solidify business professionals’ competency and character.

Check out a few ideas to prepare and show your seriousness about becoming a top priority as a candidate.

Strategic Thinking: Choose job application references who can attest to the talents needed for a position. While some may discuss your technical abilities, others could prefer to focus on your personality. Consider contacting someone who can provide both personal and professional feedback.

Internal Contacts: Consider asking someone for a reference, mainly if they can confirm your abilities accurately. Having inside connections can help you acquire the job. Also, the hiring manager likely trusts their opinions due to their status.

Search Statuses: Keep your former associates informed about your employment hunt. If you progress during the interview process, tell them they may receive a call from a recruiting manager. Prior communication allows them to prepare and offer you a favorable report.

Overall, knowing the significance of references can help you understand why you need them. Instead of hesitating when asked to provide information, you can confidently fulfill the request without worry or issues.


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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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