Who are the best people to ask for references? What's the difference between using friends / family, or do they have to be professional contacts? And, most importantly, what is the best way to approach someone to give you a reference? 

Job Seeker Tips The Power of a Good Work Reference

If you have been on this job hunt journey with us since from the start and have successfully followed our top interview tips for hospitality candidates - then these could be some of the questions you may have, now being in the final stage of the interview process: reference checks.

So what exactly is a work reference?  

A reference is essentially a recommendation from an individual who can vouch for your qualifications for a job. They can be split into two different categories – personal and professional – and both can be used when moving through the job application process in the hospitality industry.

A personal reference is a person who knows you as a candidate in a personal capacity, meaning they can offer information about your character, integrity and dependability.

A professional reference is somebody who can comment first hand on your professional skills, work ethic, job descriptions and value to the company.

Now you know exactly what a reference is, what steps should you take to ensure you have a great one?

How important are the references I provide?

It is important to choose your referees wisely if you're looking to get hired in the hospitality (or any) industry. Select people who can speak confidently about your experience, abilities and personality. Are you new to the hospitality industry or the workforce as a whole? Then perhaps provide an employer from a previous job, even if it is not industry related, or have a personal reference recommend you – remember the business primarily wants to hear that you are trustworthy, passionate and reliable.

Do I need to check in with my references?

Once you have selected who to use as a sound and reliable reference, be sure to let them know! Confirm with them about the experiences and skills you actually possess and which you wish for them to comment on, and explain what information you told your potential new employer in your interview. It’s important to make sure your responsibilities, roles and positions you spoke about in your interview are aligned with what your reference is going to provide. Can you imagine telling a potential new employer that you were in a management level position, only to have your previous employer inform them that you weren’t?

What if my references are living in another country?

Employers in the hospitality industry will generally still want references from you, regardless of whether your experience is on an international level – but how do you provide a reference when your old employer is over 15,000km away? Some job seekers provide written references from their former managers, but some employers these days would rather speak to your referees personally, so be sure to keep their international phone number and work email on file. 

What details do you need to supply?

Employers will need your referee’s full name, company they work for, their position within that company, their relation to you and their phone number (and email if you have it).

What will the interviewer likely ask your reference?

When speaking to an applicant’s references, interviewers need different information depending on what kind of role they have applied for, but generally the information needed is:

  • What your position was
  • The dates of your employment
  • Why you left the company
  • What your main responsibilities/duties were
  • Key strengths
  • Reliability

It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But you should never underestimate the power of a good reference - they won't make or break a job offer, but a good one will certainly help seal the deal for you. 

Now that you've established how to find the perfect reference, you're ready to start applying for your hospitality position. Find our open roles below for Sydney's hottest events, restaurants, and nightlife below. 

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About the author BENCHMARQUE

We publish articles to inspire and educate people to join the hospitality industry while providing best practice advice for owners and operators.


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