How often do you need to confirm that someone is willing to be your reference?

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Comments (6)

anonak in New Lenox, Illinois

15 months ago

A couple of years ago, I briefly started looking for another job, and I asked several people to be my references, but I ended up staying with my company.

I am once again job hunting and I came across a job post that I would like to apply to tonight, just in case it dissappears, but I am worried that I have not confirmed my references recently enough.

I other words, how often do you need to confirm that someone is willing to be your reference after the initial request? Is it contingent on me to make sure that they are still willing, or do they need to withdrawal the offer if they change their mind?

In this particular case, I asked a former manager to be a reference a little over two years ago. She agreed, and I have no reason to think that she wouldn't be willing, but two years is a long time.

I won't be able to talk to her until Wednesday, and I would really like to get my application in today. What do you think?

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Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas

15 months ago

That's a really good question, and I'm not sure that there is protocol written in stone anywhere.

I would by all means get the application in, and let's face it, it would be awhile before you were contacted, interviewed, and had reference checks performed.

So, you have plenty of time to contact folks and say: Just wanted to let you know I listed you as a reference...

And no, 2 years is not that long a time.

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SuperG in Lake Forest, California

15 months ago

Agree with AS, calling references is usually one of the very last steps in an application process. There are no specific rules of etiquette on how long an offer to be a reference lasts, but it would be polite to contact the person and ask again. You have more than adequate time to do so before the prospective employer is likely to call. Best of luck on your application.

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Endoftheworld in West Hartford, Connecticut

15 months ago

I think refs. need to be confirmed at least yrly when you are looking. My refs are from a job i was forced to quit in 2007. I have had NO contact with these 3 since that time but since I don't think I've ever gotten to the pt. in the offer stage were references are checked I don't sweat over it too much other than not sure these people even work in the same place/have the same phone or recall who I am. I had to BEG these people to be a reference as it were, as I believe a good reference esp. a letter can really help you get hired, this HAS helped me in the past.
I had printed letters and could not doctor them because they were written in present tense as if I had just left that job in '07, even if I changed the date, they would not make sense because it was over 5 yrs. ago i worked there and they are written as if I just left "we are sorry to see her leave" etc.
Just to be safe when i lost my (last) job at the end of 2008, i emailed all 3 and asked if they would still agree to being a ref. and would update my letters. I never heard back from ANY of them tho I still use their names because how can one explain NOT having any?
The worst is the applications that ask for FIVE names i'll put something like Any Person at 999 etc just because the computer won't take a blank.
Also all of my past bosses have moved on tho I always check "Yes" for can we contact your past supervisor? This is kinda a good thing but also not so good, I believe employers expect you to know these things and use an alt. esp. for your past 3 jobs or past 10 yrs. by willfully submitting a name you know will result in Who? or phone # not even going thru, it like shooting yourself in the foot but since I've never left on good terms.
Also awkward apps that ask how long you know ref assuming it's a current relationship. I worked at the job I have pseudo refs from for 5 yrs, i can bet by putting 5 on application employers assume i've known them for past 5 yrs. not that i EVER "knew" them!

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Missy in San Antonio, Texas

15 months ago

SamDavis99 in New York City, New York said: Last year, I made some bad decisions and lost my job. One of my references is called Mrs M. We went to school together and got the same job. I thought that Mrs M was my friend but I was wrong. A couple of months ago, I asked her for a favor and she hanged up on me.

Should I called up again and asked her about the reference thing? We haven't spoken for a long. At first I was hurt but I moved on. I got another work-related reference and two personal references (one through volunteering).

Don't use this person as a reference, You cannot trust her to give you a good reference. Take her off your list of references. Betrayal from a friend is the worst betrayal because it destroys trust.

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Keith in Lorain, Ohio

15 months ago

You really can not trust anyone. All of my "friends" are now my "ex-friends". And, quite frankly, each and every one of them are a-holes.

I only knew them on personal and non-professional levels, yet they all were uncomfortable to be my character reference.

It seems like most people choose the path to convince you why you should not do something, as opposed to being supportive and help you grow and improve.

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