Many food and beverage industry employers still place a lot of stock in what a job candidate’s references have to say. Yet, a lot of job seekers are poorly prepared for this final stage of the interview and candidate selection process. It’s not uncommon for the hiring train to go screeching off the tracks due to references, leaving both the employer and their chosen candidate reeling.
Here’s what you need to know about references to ensure that doesn’t happen:
- Do not put your references on your resume – they don’t belong there. Your resume is typically the first thing you will share with an employer, while references are the last step of the interviewing process. References provide the opportunity for your future employer to validate what you’ve told them about your work experience during the interview process.
- “Personal” references are not a thing, not usually. Employers assume your friends and family will say nice things about you. So they are only interested in what work acquaintances have to say.
- Employers will want your references to include prior supervisors or managers. Sometimes it’s OK if you also throw in a peer, as long as you had a close working relationship and they regularly observed your work behaviors.
- Typically, employers will want a list of at least 3 references so it is critically important that you maintain contact with prior supervisors and managers, and leave on good terms. I knew a gentleman fifteen years into his career, who had worked at just four companies, and he struggled at this step because he had no idea how to get in touch with any of his prior managers. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes it easy to stay in touch, even as people move around and email addresses and work phone numbers change.
- When you share a list of references, include name, title, email address, and phone number, plus a brief summary of how you know them. For example, “I reported to John Smith for 5 years at the ABC Company.”
- Don’t ever list someone as a reference without their express permission. Every time you use them as a reference, give them a heads up. Since employers usually want to complete the reference check process quickly, confirm that the people you share as references are available for the next few days and can commit to responding quickly to calls or emails.
- Obviously, you can’t tell references what to say when they get a call (besides you don’t know exactly what they will be asked). But you can help them make their feedback more focused and constructive by telling them about the job and the challenges you will be tasked with. For example, “I’m interviewing for a food science R&D role for a company that makes chocolate. Since you and I worked on rolling out several new confectionary products in the last few years, I’m hoping you can speak to my product innovation and commercialization skills, especially sensory science.”
Use these tips about references to help you close the deal on your next food and beverage industry career opportunity.
If you are interviewing for a role through a Kinsa recruiter, Kinsa may be the one directly checking your references. If you are actively seeking a new role, check out Kinsa’s Hot Jobs today and let us help you locate your dream job.
This blog was written by George Blomgren, Kinsa Group Recruiting Manager.