Reference Etiquette

If you want someone to give you a good reference for a potential job, what is the appropriate reference etiquette?

1) Stay in touch! The worst references I have ever checked have been the ones where the reference only vaguely recalls the prior employee because that person did not keep in touch.
2) Call the potential reference first before giving out their contact information to make sure that you have their permission to give their contact information out. I talk to a lot of references who have not even been notified that they are being listed as a reference. When this happens the person is less likely to give the prior employee a positive review.
3) NEVER list your reference’s contact information directly on your resume. This is the number one mistake I see. Too often, a job seeker will list their reference’s contact information directly on their resume. A lot of recruiters and other companies will use this information to contact your references for purposes other than a reference check. ONLY give a separate list of you references once you have been asked to do so.
4) Follow up with a nice “thank you” letter to your reference. Once someone has provided you with a reference for a potential job, a thank you letter is a great way to let them know that they are appreciated. This is a great way to stay in good graces with your references in case you need to use them in the future.
5) Make sure the contact information that you are providing for your potential references are current. It looks very bad on the potential employee’s part when they are giving out old or incorrect information for their reference contacts.

Top 5 Reasons to Temp while you Job Hunt

I was recently speaking with an unemployed legal secretary who said that she was unaware of the benefits of temping while she was unemployed. She asked me what the major benefits of temping were and I told her I would post a list on my blog for her. 

Below are my top 5 reasons to temp while you are unemployed:

  1. Income (temping typically pays significantly more unemployment)
  2. It keeps your skills fresh
  3. It gives you a chance to meet potential new connections who might help your job search down the road
  4. You could be hired full time
  5. It also allows you to tighten up the gap on your resume and show what you have been doing 

The only thing worse than not getting an offer is…

Getting an offer and having it rescinded because you misrepresented something on your resume. The reason I am writing this post today is because it has come to my attention on several occasions, just today, where people have blatantly lied about their dates or experience on their resumes. There are several ways that recruiters can cross check your information and see if you are telling us the truth aside from a background check:

1) We check to see if you have applied for prior jobs in the past. If something looks fishy, we will cross-check your most recent resume against prior resumes you have submitted to see if you show a different title or different dates on your resume. 
2) We cross-check your Linkedin profile against your resume. Often times they do not look the same and when we catch a discrepancy, it can give us pause.
3) We also Google you. Sometimes this will lead us to Facebook or other websites that might give us conflicting information from what your resume tells us.
Regardless, any type of discrepancy on your resume be it dates, employer, title, education etc… can lead to you not being hired, having a job offer rescinded or worse, being black-listed by those who know you in the community. 

Committed but not Attached

I just got out of a two day meditation retreat where the focus of the retreat was letting go and not being attached to circumstances or outcomes. How often in our lives do we let time slip past us because we are waiting for whatever outcome is next? When we get to work, we are waiting until 5pm when we can leave. Then, when we leave we are waiting until we have to go back again the next morning. We are constantly in this cyclical waiting game. 

The most common form of waiting I see is that of temporary employees who are hoping to possibly be hired by the company who they are temping for. If you ever have been a temp on a job, I am sure that you know what I am referring to.
As a recruiter, there is very little that you can say to comfort someone who is hoping to be hired when they have been temping long-term. There is a certain sense of defeat and frustration that I often see in the temps who I work with. So what can you do when you have been temping long-term to no avail?
Change your perspective! There is a big difference between being attached to an outcome versus committed to an outcome. When you are attached to an outcome, you are setting yourself up for upset if your expectations are not fulfilled. When you are committed to an outcome, you are free from upset because you are not waiting for something to happen. You are committed that the result you desire, being hired, will happen, but you are not constrained by it.
I know that this is a very subtle, but complicated concept, though if you apply it, you can have more freedom in your job search.
Imagine the next time you go to temp on an assignment…if you are not attached to being hired you will be more free to perform effectively because you will be less burdened by the need for a certain outcome. The job seekers who I have seen employ this tactic are often the ones who are hired because the employers appreciate their attitude and notice the difference in the employee’s personality and performance.

Timing is Everything

You know that old saying “The early bird gets the worm…” Well in many cases, it is the early bird who gets the job. There are several occasions where it can pay to be the early bird. Below are some examples of occasions where a person can win or lose a job offer depending on how quickly they respond:

1)Resume Submissions- The first resumes that are submitted are often the people who get hired. This is especially true of positions that are in saturated markets where there are a lot of applicants. Always check your job boards such as, first thing every morning and apply right away to any jobs that are a fit. If you take an extra day or two to put together a resume, the position could already be filled or the client could tell us to hold off on sending additional resumes. 
2) References-When you get into the interview process, it is important to have your references ready to go and aware that they will be called. Taking even an extra day to get your references together can be the difference between those who get hired and those who do not. 
3) Phone calls-At least once or twice a week I will have a job seeker call me 20 minutes too late regarding a position that I just filled. The people who answer their calls and emails first are the ones who we give top priority to and often get hired faster.
4) Interview times-Always book your interview sooner rather than later. I occasionally have people who opt to push their interview back a few days or a week. There have been many instances where the position gets filled in the first few interviews and then the person who pushed their interview back a few days doesn’t even have a chance to come in and meet the prospective employer.
5) Background forms, including pay stubs-There have been instances where someone has taken too long to fill out a background form, application and/or get the appropriate employer verification such as a pay stub and in that time, the company identifies someone who they would rather hire.
Remember, it is always better to be first than last.