“The humanitarian developers behind World of Warcraft have also discovered a way to bribe gamers into turning off their computers and going outside. If you log off for a few days, your character will be more ‘rested’ when you resume playing; a mode that temporarily speeds up your leveling.”
– Clive Thompson
Character references are your guardian angels when it comes to applying to jobs, that’s because they will vouch for you when the hiring manager calls them up and do a background research on you. Human Resources will find out whether or not you’re a person of good moral character, personal background, work & professional ethics, etc. And because your character references are seasoned professionals and know you personally, their word about you will be held up with high value by the HR of the company that you’re applying a job in.
But how and when to get character references is the tricky part, so let me walk you through the process, so you can be prepared when the hiring manager asks for it.
To start with, you need to select who your character references should be. But how do you determine what kind of person they are? Well, perhaps the simplest answer is that they should discuss your general attributes to the hiring manager to work towards your best interest and not the other way around. Basically you would want your character references to be among these people in your life:
- Past and present employers
- Faculty members
- Advisors and coaches
Do not cite these people as your character reference:
- People who have a personal grudge against you (i.e. an old employer who hates you or a school official who favored you less among your class or schoolmates, etc.)
The reason why employers ask for your character references is to ascertain that you are a good, honest and hard working person; similarly, your goal in providing character references is reassure him of that.
You should get or present character references to the hiring manager only when he or she asks for it, because it would defeat the purpose of having one if you’ve given it to him/her when they have not asked for it.
Of course you will need to ask permission from the people whom you will ask to be your character references and if you do, remember to be considerate. These are busy people and they may not be able to attend to you right away, so ask for a phone or personal meeting with them to discuss your need for character reference for your new job briefly. Give them the information about the company and the job that you applied for, but also tell them about the hiring manager as he might be the likely person who will call your contacts in your character reference.
Having about 3 – 5 prominent folks in your character reference list is a great way to boost your chances at getting hired. The employer will feel a lot better if you came highly recommended by people who are in the same position as they are, because they would know best the kind of people to hire in order to make a company productive. So, if I were you, I’d start listing people who might be a good potential to be in your list of character references.