It was a great day for Henrietta. After months of churning out job applications, she finally had good news – she’d advanced to the final round of interviews for an engineering position with Another Tech Co.

She was thrilled. She didn’t want to get ahead of herself, but it was nice to see her hard work paying off and to know she was a desirable candidate. Henrietta took the right steps from here – she thanked the hiring managers for their consideration and assured them of her continued interest in the position.

Unfortunately for our girl, she made one seemingly minor oversight. With all the interview prep, company research and general excitement, she didn’t consider the hiring team’s process. She forgot to think about her references.

She had relied on the same references since starting her job search, and while she’d initially cleared it with the people on her list, she had not kept them up to date on her career or given them a heads up to expect a call.

So when Pauline Schmo, Henrietta’s former college advisor, got the inquiry from Another Tech Co. about her stellar senior project, she couldn’t recall the topic or give Henrietta the glowing recommendation she deserved.

This left Another Tech Co. skeptical about Henrietta’s candidacy. While she’d received top marks, the muddled reference was not the endorsement they were anticipating.

Ultimately she lost out to a programming prodigy, fluent in 16 languages with an Olympic biathlon medal to boot.  Whether her references scotched the deal, we’ll never know, but it’s worth remembering these basics:

Update your reference providers, make sure they are current with what you’re doing and seeking and make sure they are willing to provide a positive review. Better luck next time Henrietta!

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