References: Read this before going to an interview!

If you are an experienced job seeker, you may remember a day when employers asked for written references. Maybe you even have some glowing references from former bosses on glossy paper. Do yourself a favor and do not bring them out at the end of the interview unless you want to be met with awkward looks. It’s unlikely that the recruiter will take the time to read your stack of papers and most recognize that you could fabricate the letters.

These days, most employers will personally call references or they will use a web based service to solicit references. When I was a healthcare recruiter, we utilized the site Skill Survey because it maintained some anonymity of the references and also gave the employer the ability to check computer IP numbers to ensure that the job seeker was not trying to pull a fast one.

Lastly, whatever you do, do not falsify references. It shockingly happens fairly regularly and sleuthy recruiters love nothing more than uncovering the truth. If you are concerned about the feedback a former would share about you— don’t ask them to be a reference!

For a really rich discussion, check out the original link to the post on LinkedIn. Over 98 comments and counting….


  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

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