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Amazon_LogoSay the interviewer asks you this in a job interview:

What will your job references say about you?

What will you say?

References1You absolutely need to know what your references will say about you before you give their names to a potential employer.

If you’ve ever thought you had the job in the bag—then all of a sudden they stopped communicating with you, it may be that your references brought you down.

How to make sure your references help you get the job:

  • choose good quality references (people you have worked for or reported to are the best ones)
  • ask them if they are comfortable giving you a reference, what they might say about you, if they are going to be available, and what is the best way to contact them
  • prep them before they are called by telling them what to focus on (“Hey, I’m interviewing for X job doing ABC…can you mention the work I did on X, and that I’m amazing?”)

But this employer won’t expect that you can read the minds of your references, so what they are really asking for is a list of your strengths.

This is easy to match up with what your references will talk about if you coach them before they are called.

If you know that one will mention your high-level creativity as demonstrated on a certain project, then you can say, “My references will say that I am extremely creative.”

If you know another will be able to speak to your overall skill set, you can say, “My reference will say that this job fits me well because of X, Y, and Z.”

If you know another reference would hire you if they could, that is a wonderful thing to report: “My reference would say that they would hire me again in a minute if they could.” This is the strongest recommendation of all.

Make sure that you are communicating well with your references so that you do know what they will say about you. The last thing you want is to say something that your references will contradict.


This question and answer is just one of the 101 job interview questions and answers in my ebook How to Answer Interview Questions II, available on Amazon.  (Along with the Keys to a Great Interview!)

If you know there's a job interview in your future, I encourage you to get this book (How to Answer Interview Questions II) as well as the first book, How to Answer Interview Questions.  Both books have 101 job interview questions and answers that will have you ready to stand out in any job interview and get the offer.

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