Are References Still Necessary?

Nancy Anderson
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Job seekers are required to take a different approach when applying for jobs than they once did. Long gone are the days of mailing in your resume, job reference and cover letter. Most companies utilize online platforms to screen candidates and identify qualified applicants while also searching social media platforms for additional information. The move to digital prompts you to also provide digital references, which are still necessary and relevant to the hiring process.

Social media and online profiles have changed the game for job seekers. Candidates can fill out a professional profile and request a recommendation from people who they have never met nor worked with at previous jobs. This leaves many hiring managers contemplating the usefulness of requesting a job reference for qualified candidates or scanning through social media platforms, explains Catherine Miklaus with Green Job Interview.

The reality is that you still need people from your professional network to vouch for you. An online profile may not realistically show your work performance in an objective manner, but an emailed form to a job reference can help identify your qualifications, work ethic and motivation for potential employers. A reference from someone in your professional network is a necessity because hiring managers want and need the inside scoop on who you are as a team member, professional and potential employee.

Employers have begun to improve their interviewing tactics to uncover bogus or misleading references and recommendations that are viewable online. You may encounter an attitudinal interview that requires you to role play or provide answers to a scenario specific to the job duties you will be required to complete if hired. Employers also use the same tactic for each job reference. Questions often dig deeper to uncover how a potential employee would handle a stressful situation or problem solve. Your references are not usually asked general questions anymore about your dates of employment or responsibilities. Hiring managers want to dig deeper and wade past the information they have viewed online to discover your personality traits, skills, abilities and experience working with clients, customers and fellow employees. This puts more responsibility on your professional references to help secure the job for you.

You can help hiring managers sift through the multiple recommendations online by providing a job reference list that offers variety. Include co-workers, managers, former professors, clients and customers who can offer specific examples of your work habits and professional approach.

Technology may have changed the way in which applicants apply and hiring managers investigate potential clients, but the need for a job reference list is still relevant. Increase your chances of obtaining an interview — and ultimately, your dream job — by providing a comprehensive group of references who can vouch for you.

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