After an extensive job search, you’ve finally landed upon a job you like. Congratulations! The daunting task of sending the job application email went well and you’ve also accepted the interview that was scheduled by the recruiter by sending the necessary interview confirmation email. Now, you have just been told that you need to provide a list of references to the company. Any typical company will run background checks on prospective hires and these references are very important in ensuring that you do well in the interview. For this reason, you must provide references that can vouch for your qualifications and experience.

If questions like, “Who to ask as references for job interviews?” or “How to ask someone to be a reference?” just appeared in your head, don’t worry. We’re here to learn about writing emails to request references from people who know you well, so you can submit them as references to the company you’re interviewing at.

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Tips to Remember when Asking Someone to be a Reference

The references you submit during your interview process are critical in determining whether the recruiter should go ahead with hiring you for the position. Needless to say, your references must be carefully thought & picked. Here is everything you need to know before asking someone to be a reference:

  1. First and foremost, you should pick credible references — someone who can vouch for your professional skills, experience and temperament. Your extended family and friends generally aren’t good references, unless you have worked with them professionally and they hold a high-ranking position at a company.
  2. Once you’ve chosen credible references, ensure that they really know you well enough to provide a good reference. A well written reference letter can greatly increase your chances, whereas a poorly written reference letter that appears to be written merely as a formality will do your chances a lot of harm.
  3. The next step, then, is to ask for their permission to be a reference for you. It is never a good idea to give someone’s details directly to the interviewer.
  4. Irrespective of the outcome of your interview with the company, you must keep them updated about the status of your interview process and follow-up with them after the process is complete.
  5. At the end, don’t forget to thank them for helping you with the interview process.

Let’s now take a look at the example and see how to write a reference request email. You can copy and reuse the following sample by adding it as a template in Spark. Learn more about Email Templates.

Example Template: How to Ask the Previous Employer for a Reference

Subject: Reference Request for [Position Name] Interview

Dear [Name],

I hope you have been well, and so is everything at [Previous Company Name].

I am currently in the process of interviewing at [Company Name] for the position of a [Position Name]. I wish to seek your help, hoping you’d be comfortable providing a reference for me. As I have spent more than [X] years of my professional career working with you at [Previous Company Name], I believe that you are aptly placed to guide my potential employers about me and my qualifications, skills, and experience. A positive reference from you will certainly go a long way in improving my chances.

I’d sincerely look forward to your response, and highly appreciate you helping me with this. I am attaching my resume with this email for your reference. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you.

[Your Name]
[Contact Info]

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