What to Do When Asked for References After an Interview

Picture – you just got done with an interview and return home super excited about how well it went! In fact, you surprised yourself by being so confident and giving intelligent answers to your likely employer’s tricky questions!

You are just about to begin celebrating an excellent day when suddenly you receive an email from your prospective employer asking you to forward a couple of references. 


Well, the interview went well enough but how do you go about getting your references? You haven’t been in touch with your previous employers in a while and some jobs may not have ended so well!


What to Do When Asked for References After an Interview

In this article, we look at the reasons why prospective employers may request references. How do you approach your previous employer for a reference and what exactly should you get right in that reference letter? Let’s take a quick look at these questions. 


Why Do Employers Ask for References?

When an employer asks you for references it is usually a good sign but in no way guarantees that you have got the job. 

The employer may be impressed by your interview and wants to make sure his impression is accurate by getting an opinion from your previous employers. 

Also, there may be many applicants that have been shortlisted after the interview and the next process of elimination involves going through references to finalize the most deserving candidate for the job. 


In some establishments, asking for references is just part of the normal hiring procedure. 

Apply For References

You should have about three good references ready to submit to your prospective employer.

Make sure the references have the right address and contact information as the information on the letter may be verified during the recruiting process. 

The letter will also contain your date of joining and leaving the company, your position, your skills, and qualities. 

You can take a look here into what a good reference letter should look like. Here are some people you can contact for reference letters.

Your Previous Employer

You can contact your previous employer and ask for a reference letter. Talk about your interests in the job you are applying for and how important his reference will be for you to land the job. 

Tell him how much you will appreciate this gesture. Be polite and present your request in the best manner.

Managers and Co-workers

If you are unable to get a reference directly from your boss, you can always try and get references from managers or co-workers at your previous placement. 

Someone who is in a high position in the company is considered more credible as a source of reference. 

A Volunteer Organization

You may have volunteered in the past for an organization that is well known for the work they do.

 A reference letter from them stating that you volunteered with them and how you helped in their projects can make a big difference in showing you in the right light. 

Your Teacher or College Professor

You can contact a teacher from school or a professor from your university requesting for a reference letter. 

The letter can state how well you did in class and how involved you were in school projects, besides giving information about your skills and qualities.

What to Do When Asked for References After an Interview

The Bottom Line

Being asked for a reference letter does not guarantee that the employer is about to make you an offer. But you can be more hopeful that he is indeed enquiring further about you because you have made a good impression. 

You should always keep some solid references handy, highlighting your talents, skills, and capabilities written by credible sources to help you secure the job you want. Even in trying times, you can land a job.