4 Things Dubai Professionals Should Know About Employment References

A recent study by Careerbuilder takes a detailed looked at the references that employees are citing when they apply to companies – and the findings offer some serious words of warning that all Dubai jobs seekers should pay attention too.

The study itself was carried out by Harris Interactive on behalf of Careerbuilder between August 13 and September 6 2012, and so is very recent. The survey included 2,494 hiring managers and HR professionals and nearly 4,000 workers across industries and sizes, so it is a good sample size and worth taking notice of. It is a US study,  but many of these were international companies and I believe it is applicable in Dubai and internationally, and is a good general indicator of attitudes and behaviour in the area relating to employment references. So, what did they find? There were several interesting findings and I have listed these below.

1.Have you ever wondered if employers actually check references?

Well, they do; in fact the survey found that the clear majority (80%) of employers do contact referees when evaluating employees.  16% of these employers will contact referees even before they call the candidate for a job interview. 29% of employers reported that they have caught a fake reference on a candidate’s application.

So, Dubai professionals should be warned that employers absolutely do check references, so make sure they are accurate, appropriate and up to date.

2.Do candidates always tell their referees that they have listed them as a reference?

Most candidates do inform their referees in advance, but 15% of job seekers list referees without checking with them first. It is vital that you always inform your referees prior to using them, because if they are caught by surprise they may not be ready and your testimonial may be substandard. Substandard references are a common occurrence, that is, 62 percent of employers said that when they contacted a reference listed on an application, the reference didn’t have good things to say about the candidate.

But, this situation should be avoidable. So, always, contact your referees in advance and ensure that you select your referees well. It should be someone who fully understands the scope of your responsibilities who can vouch for your competencies, achievements, work ethic, attitude etc…

3.Do references really matter to your getting the job?

They most certainly do and Dubai professionals should take references very seriously, because 69% of employers said they have changed their minds about a candidate after speaking with a referee, with 47 % reporting they had a less favorable opinion and 23 %reporting they had a more favorable opinion. 31%  said references haven’t swayed their decisions on a candidate one way or the other.

4.How many referees should Dubai professionals provide?

71%  of workers reported that they provide three or more references when applying to jobs. 10%  said they typically don’t provide any references. The message here is clear, Dubai professionals need to be providing at least three references to employers in order to keep up with the competition.

About the author

Kazim Ladimeji is the Director of thecareercafe.co.uk—a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers. It includes a blog with career and small business advice articles. Kazim is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practising HR professional for 14 years.

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