Squads are having a moment. Thanks to Taylor Swift and her ubiquitous gaggle of best friends, “squad goals” has entered the American lexicon as something we would all like to achieve.
This idea of the perfect squad doesn’t just translate to whom you’ll ring for the next happy hour; indeed, it transfers to your work life as well. Who is in your corner when you are gunning for a new job or promotion? When you’re choosing your references for your next interviewing opportunity, think about these tips as you make your #squadgoals a reality.
Choose References Who Showcase Your Best Self
Vetting your references seems obvious, but it can be an oft-overlooked step when compiling your fierce squad. References should only say positive things about you, your work ethic and your past roles. It’s added value if your references know you well enough to have anecdotes at the ready in order to illustrate the immense benefit you would bring to a new team. Additionally, you should still keep in touch regularly with any references you give to a potential company. (Tip: This is why networking is so important.) You don’t want to give recruiters or interviewers the impression that you have few people who can vouch for you; listing a colleague from years ago who hasn’t heard from you in awhile isn’t going to cut it.
Be Strategic In Whom You Choose
It can work toward your advantage to match references with the people who will be contacting them. This takes a little more thought and strategy on your end, but the payout can be immense (such as a new paycheck!) Perhaps the recruiter and one of your references went to the same alma mater. While the topic of collegiate education isn’t guaranteed to come up in their conversation, it might. And if it does, that’s one more connection you have made. It’s also important to think about the responsibilities your potential new role comprises and pick references who can speak to your ability to handle and swiftly execute such responsibilities.
Trust Your References Implicitly
If you reach the stage in the interview process where references are needed, you have given your squad quite the responsibility: to help you sell yourself to the company one last time. Thus, there is a high bar of trust that you must feel for any names you give your potential company. Your references should be well-spoken and eloquent, both verbally and in writing, with an air of professionalism. They know how to spin any of your weaknesses into strengths without a second thought, and have an elevator pitch describing your accomplishments locked down. This is what earned them a spot in your squad to begin with and precisely why you know you can count on them to land the job.
Burchard & Associates is an executive search firm specialized in accounting and finance recruiting across all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution, healthcare, financial services, and more.