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Most employers are very interested in what your past employers have to say, and will ask for reference checks to be conducted as part of a recruitment process. In nominating suitable referees, consider the following:

Your referee needs to be a person who knows you well enough to provide an accurate account of your skills, knowledge and experience. They should be prepared to be honest and ideally be an advocate for you in securing future work.

Referees usually include current supervisors and/or managers but can include previous managers. They should not be someone with whom you have a personal relationship, as their ability to comment specifically about your work performance is questionable.

You should always brief your referees on the role you are being considered for. Typically, the information they will be required to provide includes:

  • Verifying or commenting on claims you have made in your application or during the interview;
  • Confirming your performance in the role – conduct, skills, knowledge and experience;
  • Providing an insight into whether the new role you are being considered for is appropriate for you.

Remember that your referee is giving up their time and considered feedback during this process. In appreciation of their efforts make sure you call them to thank them.

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