Referees are still very relevant in today’s jobs market. The referee’s recruiters and employers value the most are those people you reported to directly. These people can speak about how you used your skills and experience to add value to their organization. Reference checks are usually only done at the final stages of the recruiting process prior to an offer being made. That is why we recommend not listing them in your CV.
Former managers can also speak to your personal attributes such as reliability, ability to build and leverage relationships, and whether you collaborate well with other team members.
There’s also such a thing as referee etiquette that you should follow when job hunting. It may have been a number of years since you last looked for a job, so you should contact your referees to ask if they are still happy to speak on your behalf before providing their details to anyone. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Have this conversation with your referees once you make the decision to start looking for a role. They may even be able to provide you with valuable information in the marketplace and provide a sounding board to help in your decision-making.
When you know you have been shortlisted for a job or a recruiter asks you to supply at least two referees, it is then time to let your referees know they will soon be contacted and by whom. If you don’t know the specific person, just let them know the name of the recruitment firm or employer organization.
It’s also helpful to provide your referee with a bit of detail about the job and the key skills, qualifications, and attributes the employer is seeking. You might also outline some of the examples of your work and achievements that you will be relaying in the job interview from the period of time when you reported to your referee.