You say you worked where?

References

An article we recently stumbled upon, profiling some imbecile discussing references, made us want to address this important issue sooner than later as you prepare for your new life as an Official Temp, and that issue is references.

In this particular article, this I’m-smarter-than-everyone-else-in-the-room-techie-boss asked potential candidates during interviews for contact information for someone who didn’t like them in their previous job – as a way to balance out the good references and attempt to obtain a “real picture of the candidate.” That’s like asking your blind date over dinner for their ex’s phone number, just to get a “feel” of who they really were pre-divorce. Imbecile. But it does raise a point – that is, making sure you’ve got some good reference letters when preparing for battle.

Agencies actually prefer not to have to do background checks. However, they are left with little choice as a new survey from CareerBuilder.com points out.  More than 2,500 hiring managers found that a whopping 56% have caught job candidates lying on their resumes.  The biggest whopper?  Embellishing skills or capabilities.  Another 54% say they’ve caught applicants taking extreme liberties when describing their responsibilities in a given position.  And even more sadly, 25% have seen people who have claimed to be employed by companies they couldn’t find on a Google map.  That takes some enormous balls.

Written references are the only sure-fire guarantee for a limited background check and can actually be a way for you to rise to the top of the pile, especially those written from senior executives where you might have interned for over a summer or two, and it doesn’t have to be a direct supervisor, just someone who liked you in that company. In addition, if you’re experience is light on your resume, which will be heavily discussed in our coming post on resumes, get reference letters from friends or the parents of friends who work for big name companies and who are willing to provide a character reference. It impresses the agency that you put the thought into the process and they’ll know that you’ll know how to represent them accordingly with any temp assignments they send you out on.  And an Official Temp always knows how to represent.

John Nash

Look, we’ve all made mistakes which can make background checks a bit tricky, so references are a great way to fly when starting that new temping life.  Three is the ideal number.  They should be on the letterhead of the company that person works for, succinct, no more than three short paragraphs, and always offering a phone number to call to discuss how awesome you are, which they never do.

It’s that simple.  Now start asking.

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