Written By Philip Cornell
July 11th 2018
You have worked so hard to get to where you are at in the hiring process. You just finished your third interview and judging by the practically empty waiting room outside, it is down to you and a select few candidates. The only thing left for you to do is wait. On the other side of the door, the hiring team is in a dilemma. They have 2 candidates in which everything is completely even. So they pull out the tiebreaker and start calling references. Your last boss now controls your fate. How can you make sure that you get the job?
Right now, unfortunately there is nothing you can do. References are like credit scores, it is very hard to build a solid one, taking many years of dedication and reliability. But also it is very easy to create a bad one, one missed payment, or one missed meeting and all of your positive work is erased. But, there are a few easy things that if you make these things into habits, you can always rest easy when the employer calls your reference.
First, ask for feedback. Don’t be the nag that goes to the boss after every day and asks what they can do better. That is annoying. But regularly, whether it be after a completed project, or if you made a dicey decision and want to see their reaction, or after bonus’s come out, ask what you can do better. This not only makes you look good in the boss’s eye, but it also actually makes you a better worker, and lets you grow professionally without having to get a new job.
Second, be timely. This one is something that is easy for everybody to achieve, but is rarely done to perfection. This is another thing where you can’t really stand out for being timely, but you can stick out like a sore thumb for being late. You definitely don’t want to undo the positive impression that you made when you doubled sales last month by being 20 minutes late to dinner with a client and your boss.
Last, set attainable goals, and constantly check them. This is a skill that every 5th grader knows is important, but as you get older you forget. There is no worse feeling than waking up and not having any ambition for what you want to achieve in the future. But not only is this merely a bad feeling, but it will show in your work ethic. People with motivation beyond just meeting a weekly quota or deadline are proven to outperform others by more than 50%. Write down your goals, and easily become a more accomplished employee.
With these three easy tips, you can become an infinitely better employee. As a last tip, always remember to ask your boss when leaving a job if they will provide you with a strong reference. Although it might be awkward for them to say that they will not, it is much better than relying on their weak reference during a hiring process. Not only will doing all of these things help you advance in your current role, but it will let you rest easy, knowing that every one of your past bosses will give you a gleaming reference.