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What You Want Your Legal References to Say About You

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Law Dawgs | Candidate Services
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A proven fact within the job hunting process is that references matter. In a recent survey involving hiring managers, it was found that 21 percent of candidates get removed from consideration after managers speak to their professional references. That’s a huge figure.

Moreover, when managers speak with a candidate’s references, they’re not just engaged in casual conversation. They’re after specific information; and, this holds true no matter if you’re an attorney, paralegal, legal support staff member, or an administrative assistant.  Now, if managers are after certain news on you, it’s critical for you to supply them with references that will provide the appropriate lowdown; and, this is what you want them to say.

In General

Hiring managers will always ask your references some basic questions. These are used to solicit general information. A few of the most common of these basic questions include:

  • Can you describe the candidate’s past job duties and experience?
  • How do you view the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the candidate’s workplace accomplishments?
  • Do you have an opinion on the candidate’s preferred work culture?
  • Can you confirm the applicant’s job titles and dates of employment?

In looking at these, you obviously what your references to include those professionals that can answer the questions the best. You’ll also want references that can quickly provide examples where appropriate.

More Specifically

The important thing about references is they have first-hand knowledge on how a candidate performs in the work-place. They can also opine on an applicant’s attitude, work ethic, interaction with peers and colleagues, and potential. All of this represents a wealthy source of data for a hiring manager – and, they will tap into it.

This essentially means managers will not limit their questions to generalities. A company or firm invests in its employees. Therefore, hiring personnel want to find the best possible candidate for a given job. To ensure an applicant is the best, they will ask references detailed questions about that applicant.

Please note that there are two very common detailed questions that hiring managers ask. These include:

  • Why is this position the perfect fit for Mr. Smith?
  • What makes Mr. Smith a valuable employee?

As stated above, given these questions, you want to provide employers with references that will answer these questions the best. But, there’s more.

You play a huge role in how well the above questions get answered. A reference cannot answer either of them without specific information as to the job you’re applying for and the employer you’re targeting. Thus, it’s imperative that you contact your references before they’re called upon. Tell them everything you know about the position and the work environment. Remind them of past experiences where you have excelled and how you rose above specific challenges.  The more details you provide, the better.

Resumes and cover letters are very important documents when it comes to landing that next great law job. But, never forget the importance that references play in getting hired. Make certain your references are professional and know you well. Also, ensure they’ll say the right things about you. Please contact LAW DAWGS today with any reference related questions you may have.


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