Before You Apply for a Job, Be Sure to Contact Your References and Ask for Their Permission

Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash
Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash

Too much is at stake in employing anyone, so recruiters may not necessarily take candidates at their word. In the job market, having references is very important.

Your résumé and cover letter simply explain you from your own perspective. They tell recruiters about the person you believe you are. But, that’s not always enough to woo the recruiters. More information from significant others may be required, in which case you’re expected to cite your references.

References are the people who know you better than you know yourself at times. They’ve worked with you. They’re able to praise you and recommend you to the next employer.

So in choosing these individuals great care must be taken. Your next employment hangs on it. Bribery will back fire. Asking people who don’t know you or are unwilling to be your references may not be a good idea. Hiring manager ask for extensive information about you as a person. These people are likely not to know that.

On the other hand, job applicants may cite people without their consent, as their references. No one wants to be taken off-guard, not even your prospective referees. So to really beat the job search, you’ll do better by consulting people so that they expect to be asked about you.

It is of utmost importance to let people know that you’d really appreciate it if they’re your references. We call that courtesy. After all you want to practice professionalism in your job search.

Also to have someone represent you well, they must feel that you recognize them and honour them. So there’s no going around this fact; you must contact people before they’re called by someone unexpectedly, especially because you cited them without their consent.

You need that consent. Don’t even think of citing someone because you’re close to them outside the professional domain. Again the reason behind consulting with your references (especially a colleague) is that, they may not be allowed to talk about or recommend anyone. So if you fail to contact them, you’ll soon reach a dead end.

Asking for people’s consent also prepares them to think about how to present their case about you to prospective employers. It is in such consultation that you’ll be sharing with them the information you cited in your CV. This will help them to think in line with such information.

Otherwise, there will be discrepancies between what they have to say and what you said in your application. This may hinder your success in the job market. These (your references) are to commend you to the prospective hiring manager, so disclosing critical information with the job description is important.

If you’ve worked with your desired reference in the past, obviously you’ll have to remind them of who you are and what you did while with them. They need not sound confused about who you are to the prospective employer. At the end of the day, you need to at least know what may be said about you.

Think of it this way: how would you feel if somebody cited you as their reference without you knowledge? Be smart and make necessary consultations.


Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.