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In Focus

When you fill out an application for a job or submit a resume, you usually list least I always have.

Depending on the job, employers may or may not call the references listed.

Well, it finally happened. I received a call as I was someone’s reference for a new job.

Here’s the thing about references. Whether the potential employer calls or not, always ask the people you use as references for permission to use their name. Also, be careful who you choose for a reference, as they possibly could backstab you. Choose wisely.

In my case, I was asked to be a “professional” reference, and I was informed ahead of time that I would probably be getting a call and from whom to expect the call.

I wracked my brain. Of all the times I know I have been used as a reference, I think this may be the second time I have been called.

The other time, well it was part of an FBI background check for a friend in the military. Yes, I had “the feds” at my house. He was really nice, and there were no issues other than his presence scaring the crap out of my roommate at that time. Anyway...

While this call won’t top my visit from the boys in black, I think it went well. The lady was nice, and she had an entire questionnaire for me to answer. As far as my friend goes, I have never worked with said person but have worked alongside said person for a few years, mainly for stories. But we became friends and I got to know what this person is like.

So, this questionnaire was a little difficult to answer at times as I had never worked with said person. But I gave the best input I could knowing this person and what I had seen over the years. I really didn’t want to be the reason this person didn’t get a job they were so qualified for.

When the interviewer asked what this person was like, my first thought was the endless dad jokes this person liked to send me and this person’s good-natured sense of humor.

“I hope you like dad jokes,” I said.

She thought that was great, adding that my friend sounded like a great fit for the position. I sighed in relief.

I even went a step further and emailed the interviewer a couple of articles I had written involving said person. Can’t say I didn’t do my best to help my friend land this job. I don’t know yet if said person got the job yet or not but I’m pretty hopeful.

With the job market as wide open as it is, I feel that there are two scenarios happening now. Some employers are so desperate for employees they will take anyone who hands in an application, and the other is the employers who are receiving a lot of applications and are able to be a bit pickier about who they hire.

Choose your references wisely. Don’t list your friends, because they are friends unless you have some sort of professional connection. Former co-workers and supervisors, teachers and positions where you’ve volunteered are great places to start. At least that’s been my experience.

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