Choosing a strong professional reference

I recently spoke to one of my candidates about references.  She had told me that one of her partners had agreed to be a reference for her, but she was unsure as to whether this partner would give a positive, neutral, or negative reference.

Choosing a strong professional reference is an important component of your job search.  I believe that it is absolutely fair to ask your partners directly if they feel they can provide a solid, informative, and positive reference for you. In doing so, you are confirming that the references you choose feel totally comfortable talking about your work, professionalism, and personality.

Furthermore, by asking your references if they feel they know you well enough to provide a thorough and positive reference, you are essentially giving lukewarm references an ”out.” In other words, by phrasing your request in this way, certain references who don’t know you as well may feel more comfortable graciously declining your request.

Generally, most people feel bad saying no to the question of being someone’s reference. Thus, by specifically asking if your references feel that they know you well enough to act as an in-depth character and professional reference, you will be able to weed out any partners who may possibly give you a lukewarm or uninformed reference.  In this market, it is imperative to cover all your bases in your job search. You don’t want an offer to fall through simply because you chose the wrong references.

Original post: Lateral Attorney Report