Job references

What is a job reference?

In the later stages of the interview process the employer will usually ask for a list of job references which they can call. (A job reference may also be known as a referee).

The purpose of a job reference is to verify who you are and what you are capable of. Usually job references will be supervisors who you have recently or currently work with. Other references may also include possible suppliers, clients, teachers, voluntary work contacts, etc.

Priming job references

Priming refers to getting you job references ready. Not only is it courteous to do so but it also means that the job reference you listed wont be sounding surprised, vague or irritated when a potential employer calls.

Just ensure that the job references you have listed have a clear memory as to who you are and you capabilities. You may also want to remind them major accomplishments or successful projects you may have worked on.

When listing a job reference, also be sure that they will be contactable in the coming days or weeks. For example they may be planning to take a holiday or be away from the office.

Job reference do's and don'ts



  • Do list more than one contact number where available
  • Do double check that all phone numbers are correct
  • Do prepare a list of job references in anticipation that the employer will ask for them at any time
  • Don't forget to prime your job references