Tag Archives: references

Introducing Our First Careers Podcast!

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We’re excited to share our first podcast with you! In this short, 15 minute segment, learn more about why references are so important and how you can maximize your chances of landing that job by choosing and prepping your references wisely. Simply click HERE to listen.

References

We enjoyed creating this podcast, and hope to record more in the future. Let us know what topics you’re interested in. In addition, feel free to reach out to any of the recruiters in this podcast by clicking on their profiles below:

Erin Bardwell, Staffing Manager 
Michael Dobreski, Corporate Recruiter
Frank Battaglia, Corporate Recruiter

Thank you for reading (and listening)!

P.S. If you want to learn even more about references, check out our last blog post on this topic.

Want to work for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About References But Were Afraid To Ask

references road sign illustration designOne of the most searched questions that brings people to our blog is – “Is it a good sign if they contact my references?” The answer is a resounding yes! If it gets to the point where a prospective employer requests references, you can feel confident that an offer MAY be headed your way.

However, a lot can happen between requesting your references and a potential job offer. Some of it you can control, some you can’t. Let’s start with the basics:

Why are good references so important?
You may think that reference checking is a formality – that either the employer won’t bother calling them or will only ask for verification of basic information such as dates worked. While this is true in some cases, it is very far from the truth in others. Go into your job search and interview expecting your references to be called if all goes well.

Who should you pick as a reference?
You want to pick a supervisor, boss or superior you’ve worked for over the years.  Your neighbor, pastor, best friend, colleague or parents are not good references!

Depositphotos_31386347_m-2015

How many should you have?
3 to 5 is a good basic number.

How do you prep your references?
By all means, let them know that they may be called! However, do NOT reach out every time you have a job interview. If you’ve had a few interviews and can tell the company is interested and asks for references, then you can give your references a heads up.

Sending your references a copy of your resume and even a link to the job description is helpful. Always make sure to thank them – even before they are called and definitely after! In addition, encourage your references to call the hiring manager as soon as they can (if they missed the call and were left a message).

Fair or not, you are being judged on everything – including how long it may take for a reference to call the hiring manager or recruiter back.

Think about it – which looks better – a reference so pumped about you as an employee that they call back right away or one who waits a half day or day to respond?

Poor employee ! Company performance audit checklist

What do recruiters and hiring managers want to hear?
They want to hear about your accomplishments – not canned or rehearsed answers. Enthusiastic, thoughtful commentary on why you were a good employee will go a long way.

How should younger job seekers handle references?
If you haven’t been in the workforce long enough to have former employers to use as references, you can always reach out to a former professor, sports coach or someone in authority who would be a good spokesperson on your behalf.

Do I need to put References Available Upon Request on my resume?
No. This is just a waste of space and is seen as a given. You should have a list ready to go when asked. Do not offer this list up. Wait until you are asked for it. Also, make sure all the contact information on there is current. It’s also helpful to add some context to the list – for example:
John Doe, my former Supervisor at Acme Corporation, 333-3333

What can job seekers do to make sure they have good references?
Don’t just reach out to your references when you need them! Keep in touch with them via LinkedIn, email or even a text. No one likes to be used! It’s up to you to cultivate and maintain good professional relationships so you will have a pool of people to draw from when the time comes.

What do I do after my references are called?
Reach out to them and thank them for being a reference. You can also find out how the call went.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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References – 5 Do’s & Don’ts [Infographic]

References Infographic

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!
TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

 

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The Road To A Great Reference [Infographic]

TheRoadToAGreatReference

P.S. Looking for more career advice? Check out this post:
Short on time? 3 Quick LinkedIn Fixes

Infographic: www.easel.ly

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow Oldcastle Careers on TwitterLinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook for jobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our NEW Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

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Reference Reality – 7 Things You Should Know

GirlonPhone“Is it a good sign if they call my references?” The answer is a resounding yes! If you get to the point of the interview process where the employer is putting time and effort into reaching out to your references, you are definitely a solid contender for the position. For that reason, it makes good sense to put some thought into WHO you choose for a reference and HOW to prep them for that call. Our recruiting team conducts reference calls on a weekly basis. Here are a few insights from their calls and interactions.

1) Your boss makes the best reference.
Your peers can certainly speak about your work ethic, character, etc., but try for a superior if at all possible. Some companies insist on it. If you can’t use your boss as a reference (since you are still employed at the company and it would raise suspicions), what about your boss from a previous position? Good reference checkers notice if you can’t provide solid references from previous employers. It can be a red flag that you didn’t have or maintain solid professional relationships at those organizations.

2) Some companies won’t be as thorough as others, but you want to be prepared either way.
Prepare as if the employer will be calling all your references and asking them probing questions about you.

3) Ask your references permission to be used as a reference.
This is just common courtesy. Some people may not feel comfortable being a reference and you need to respect that. You never want to blind side people. It doesn’t look good if a recruiter or hiring manager calls a reference who has no idea they were going to be one.

4) Prep your references.
Give your references your resume and tell them a little bit about the position(s) you are going for and the time frame they can expect the call. Mention the qualifications you would appreciate they would mention. For instance, say you’re interviewing for a sales position. You could ask your reference to talk about the success you had on a certain sales initiative. You don’t want your reference to sound rehearsed, but a few reminders of your skill sets and accomplishments gives them a base for the discussion.

5) The reference checker is listening to what the reference DOES say as well as what they DON’T.
A good reference check call is a conversation between the reference and recruiter. The recruiter is looking to see if the person is a cultural fit and can do the job. They can sense when a reference may be holding back. Lulls in the conversation or hesitations can be red flags to them.

6) Avoid the “perfectionist” line.
Saying someone is too organized or too dedicated isn’t fooling anyone. No one is perfect, and we all have areas to work on. Employers know this. Being too glowing in a reference discussion can backfire. It’s best for your reference to focus on your strengths, but they should never lie or exaggerate.

7)  Be willing to be a reference for others, if appropriate.
It’s good practice to return the favor (at a later date), if you can. If you’re not a boss or superior, you can always endorse the person who was your reference on LinkedIn or write a testimonial about them. This is another way to maintain good relationships and network. The truth is – you should always have your radar on as far as who you could potentially use as a reference, whether you’re currently employed and not looking or actively pursuing new opportunities.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

Photo credit: Victor Hanacek, PicJumbo

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

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12 Days of… Concrete Career Tips

  1. 12 days of concreteWhen you upload your photo to LinkedIn (or for any other use), save it as your full name (i.e. Joe Jobseeker). It’s good for SEO.
  2. Google yourself once a month to see what shows up for your name (or if someone else with your same name appears first). Note – your LinkedIn profile should be one of the first results you see.
  3. Start a new email just for job search/career purposes. An alumni email address is also great to use for professional job related inquiries.
  4. Get rid of the objective on your resume. It’s just wasting space. You’re better off beefing up a Summary or Summary of Qualifications section.
  5. Change your LinkedIn public profile URL from the standard one they give you (which includes a string of numbers) to a more customized, personalized one (ex. https://www.linkedin.com/in/JoeJobseeker).
  6. Write a recommendation for a deserving colleague on LinkedIn.
  7. Ask a colleague to write a recommendation for you.
  8. Put together a list of three references. Do it now so you won’t have to scramble when you need it.
  9. Add rich media (videos, images, documents or a presentation) to your LinkedIn profile.
  10. Start a Twitter account and follow industry related people, associations and companies. If you already have a profile, start a Twitter List entitled “Cool companies” and add those accounts to your list.
  11. Update your Facebook page profile with your current position and company. This information can be found by recruiters/hiring managers.
  12. Compare your resume to your LinkedIn page – they should not be the same thing! LinkedIn is your personal brand – not just a repeat of resume bullet points. Change accordingly.

Lucky #13 tip – Update your professional headline on LinkedIn. Pick keywords for your field – don’t just put your current job title. Also, if you current job title is not one recruiters would look for or recognize, change it! For instance, a receptionist might be called “Director of first impressions.” Very few employers and ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) will search for that job title. Use common standard titles.

 

A version of this post, by our social media specialist, appears on LinkedIn.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

 

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What Recruiters Really Look For When Checking Your References

careerladder By the time you’re asked for references, you’re probably feeling pretty good. You may even pat yourself on the back and say “I got this!” It IS a good sign when you’re asked to provide references, but don’t go changing your LinkedIn or Facebook profile to that new job title just yet. Here are a few guidelines and red flags to watch out for.

Think twice about listing peers
Pick a boss, manager or superior to be your reference. If you were a manager or in another supervisory role, avoid picking direct reports as references. Ideally, aim to have at least 2 of your 3 references be people you reported to directly.

Choose Wisely
Always pick people who will speak highly, yet honestly, about you.  An overly complimentary reference can be just as bad as a negative one. Experienced hiring managers can tell when references are exaggerating or giving them fluff answers instead of real facts and opinions about a person. No one is expecting you to be perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses.  The purpose of the reference checking process is to find out if you are who you say you are, if your resume reflects your true skills and if you would be a good fit for the organization.

Prep your references beforehand
It sounds really bad to a recruiter when they call someone who seems surprised to be contacted. Even worse, some references have even blurted out “I’m not sure why I was even asked to be a reference.” Oops. You can avoid this scenario by keeping your references in the loop and giving them a heads up that they’re going to get a call. Even better, provide them with a copy of your resume, tell them a little bit about the position you’re applying for and give them a few reminders about which skills you’re hoping they can emphasize. You don’t want them to sound scripted, but it can help to refresh their memory on your background, especially if you have not seen or worked with the person for awhile.

Don’t Hand In Your References Too Early
Wait until you’re asked! Our recruiters ask for the names of 3 past managers, even if we were already given a pre-prepared list.

We want to see how well a candidate stays connected to past management after they leave. Good employees have a network from past jobs and companies that they can rely on. Mediocre or weak candidates often leave companies on bad terms and don’t have the same network.” – Chris Garrie, VP of Recruiting

Leave References Off Your Resume
Use the space at the bottom of your resume for more important information. If you have them on there, recruiters are already evaluating who you listed. Everything you say, do or write during the application and interview process is a clue. Make sure these clues play to your advantage.

The Red Flags

  1. Weak references. These include personal friends, professors (if you have been out of college more than a few years), ministers/pastors, parents and in-laws. Yes, we have seen it all.
  2. What Your Reference Says Is Just As Important As What They Don’t. If your reference sounds rehearsed or like they are withholding information, our radar goes up.
  3. Suspicious Answers To The Hard Questions.  Long pauses and being too careful with responses or being too complimentary are very telling to a hiring manager.

“If the person on the other end of the line is not providing much information or seems frustrated, it’s a good sign that they aren’t interested in talking about the person, no matter what they are actually saying. People are cordial and upbeat when they’re doing a favor for someone they truly like. They are short and curt if they’re talking about someone they don’t.” – Rob Mischler, Staffing Manager

Reference checking is a way to find out what motivates someone, what type of employee they are and how likely they are to fit in, produce and stay at their potential new place of employment. While every hiring manager or recruiter has their own method for handling references, it’s better to err on the side of caution and make sure you pick the right references and prep them properly. Do this and you will increase the odds of landing that job!

Bonus tip: Encourage your references to respond to that initial call as soon as possible. We’re not expecting them to answer the call on the spot, but if we don’t hear back within a few days, that can be a bad sign.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

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