TORONTO, June 23 /CNW/ - A strong resume and interview may place job seekers in the running for a position, but a new survey from OfficeTeam finds the results of a reference check can be the real deal maker -- or breaker. Managers interviewed said they remove more than one in four (26 per cent) candidates from consideration after speaking to their professional contacts. When it comes to what hiring managers are looking for when speaking to references, nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) said they are most interested in learning about the applicant's strengths and weaknesses. Getting a description of the individual's past job duties and experience came in second, with 27 per cent of the response.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 300 Canadian senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Managers were asked, "Approximately what percentage of job candidates do you remove from consideration for a position with your company after checking their references?" The average response was 26 per cent.
Managers also were asked, "When speaking to an applicant's job references, what is the most important information you hope to receive?" Their responses:
A view into the applicant's strengths and weaknesses............... 29%
Description of past job duties and experience...................... 27%
Description of workplace accomplishments........................... 14%
Confirmation of job title and dates of employment.................. 9%
A sense of the applicant's preferred work culture.................. 7%
Other/don't know................................................... 14%
"When hiring managers narrow the field to a few potential candidates, the reference check often becomes the deciding factor," said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. "To distinguish themselves from the competition, job seekers should assemble a solid list of contacts who can persuasively communicate their qualifications and professional attributes."
OfficeTeam offers five tips for creating a reference list that works in your favour:
1. Choose wisely. Select individuals who can discuss your abilities and
experience that directly relate to the position, not just those with
the most impressive job titles. Offer a mix of contacts who can
address different aspects of your background; for example, a former
peer may be able to describe your interpersonal skills, while a past
direct report can talk about your management style.
2. Check in beforehand. Always call potential references first to gain
their permission and evaluate their eagerness to serve as a contact.
Be sure to give all references a copy of your resume, the job
description and the name of the person who will likely call.
3. Be prepared. Provide clear contact information for your references,
including their names, titles, daytime phone numbers and e-mail
addresses. Also, offer a brief explanation of the nature of your
relationship with each individual. Consider supplying more references
than are requested, so you won't miss out on the job offer if the
hiring manager can't get in touch with one of your contacts.
4. Think outside the box. To learn more about potential hires, it's not
uncommon for employers to seek out additional contacts, either online
or through their own networks, who can serve as a reference. Since
you never know who a hiring manager might reach out to, you should
not only remain on good terms with your past supervisors and
colleagues, if possible, but also be selective about who's in your
online network on sites such as LinkedIn.
5. Give thanks. Express your gratitude to those who agree to serve as
references, even if they aren't contacted by employers. Keep them
updated on your job search progress and offer to return the favour by
providing a recommendation should they need one.
OfficeTeam is a leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 320 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.
For further information: For further information: Kristie Perrotte, (416) 350-2330, firstname.lastname@example.org