Hey Friends, here is an article we really liked from the Economic Times site. We are repeating it here almost verbatim, so almost all credits are due to the other. We are just adding a couple of footnotes at the bottom.
Article from Economic Times from Vikas Kumar, ET Bureau http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/quickiearticleshow/11041536.cms
During interviews, we often give out references of people who we think will speak well of us. But that may not be enough. How can you ensure your referees give out a fair and helpful assessment of your skills and traits to prospective employers?
Lists five smart ways to make this hiring tool effective :
1. Be proactive : From the beginning of your career, keep in touch with past employers and build networks so you can select your referees.”Proactively create a list,” says Padmini Misra, chief people officer at Cox & Kings India. “If the interviewer were to ask, “Who should we call about you?” you tend to react with any two names in your comfort zone that come to mind. But they may not do you full justice because they may not have the full view of your technical and behavioral competence. “Be prepared ahead of when you need them.”
2 . Choose with caution : Intelligently select your referees from key stakeholders.”In companies with matrix reporting relationships, multiple bosses would have experience only a part of you. But your colleagues, subordinates, customers and vendors would have a more substantial experience working with you, since it’s a direct relationship .
3. Stick to ground rules : Keep the referee informed about the hiring company’s call and take his/her concurrence.
“Try and seek specific timings he/she could receive calls,” says GR Reddy, founder, Husys Consulting, an HR outsourcing and management firm. And while giving your present company’s reference is the most natural thing to do, it’s best avoided.
4. Prepare a script : Brief the referee about the role and stated expectations, and explain how your interview went.
“Also share with them your strengths that meet with the expectations. In other words, prepare the script for the referee; don’t leave it to him/her. This way the referee will say what the interviewer wants to hear.”Remember also to brief the referee on the culture at your potential employer’s organization.
5. Keep to limits : It’s unfair to the referee if you directly ask the referee for a favorable review, and you don’t look good either. “You cannot set up your references beyond a point. Even if you do, the interviewer will see through it,” says K Sudarshan, managing partner at EMA Partners India. And don’t get overconfident – things could backfire if your referee chooses to be objective about your strengths.
The above concludes the article. Our two pennies on the subject:
Make this an important part of your Interview preparation check list. As a sales and marketing person, see if you can give the reference of a really important customer. Such a customer should have a very good reputation and respect in the market, and someone who trusts you. A customer to whom you have given top quality service. Importantly, customers who have seen you in difficult situations, and have loved the way you managed that difficult situation. Employers love to hear about such references.
Happy interviewing then !!!