Referee Relationship: Meaning, Importance, Relationship Building Tips 

A job referee relationship is one of the most important relationships any job seeker should have if they’re looking to land their next job or career move. 

An excellent job referee is someone you can trust who knows you well and will give a positive recommendation. They can be the key to getting your next job offer or continuing your search. 

The ability to handle a job referee relationship and build it is critical, especially when applying for hard-to-get jobs requiring multiple interviews. 

Hence,​ it’s essential to nurture and grow this relationship to have someone who will be honest and help you land your next job or career.

This article explores the meaning of this relationship and ways to develop it and make it work better for everyone involved.

What is a job referee?

The job referee is your reference for future employers who may be interested in hiring you. 

Job referees are professionals and experts in their field of work who know you well and can attest to your skills and qualifications. A job referee can be thought of as an introduction broker. 

They are responsible for passing along your resume to a hiring manager at their company when they see a position that matches your qualifications. 

You may also know them by their other name: headhunter. The relationship between a job referee and an applicant is usually professional. However, it can also be personal if they know one another outside of work.

The importance of a good job referee relationship

If you are in the process of looking for a new job or career opportunity, then it is essential to cultivate your professional network. 

One way to do this is by having a job referee who has previously worked with you and can speak with authority about your skills and abilities. 

Job referees can be an essential asset when making a career move because they can provide first-hand knowledge of your work ethic, accomplishments, and skill set. 

The following are some of the importance of having a good job reference:

  • A good job reference can give you credibility in the workplace
  • A good relationship with a referee means easier job hunting
  • Referees provide an insider look at potential employers
  • A good referee will give a good review of your expertise and accomplishments
  • They provide insight and perspective that you may not be able to get from anyone else

Job referees should be regarded as professionals themselves who are experienced in their field of expertise. 

However, with that being said don’t take them for granted, and show your appreciation by thanking them and following up on what they’ve said. 

If you have a great relationship with your job referee, it will go a long way in helping you succeed in your career.

Tips for building an excellent job referee relationship

Building a referee relationship - lmshero

The importance of having a job referee should not be underestimated. A job referee can vouch for you and your skills to potential employers. 

They are also the perfect person to go to when you feel frustrated with your job search and need someone to talk to. 

Here are some helpful tips to help you develop a strong relationship with your job referee.

1. Be proactive and take the initiative to reach out to your referees

Reaching out to your referee is key to building a good relationship. The more you contact your referees regularly, the more likely they will remember you and be willing to work with you in the future. 

To start with a fresh slate and connect more personally, introduce yourself and tell them about yourself when reaching out initially. 

Be sure to include why you reached out, what you’re looking for, and any additional information that might help them know better who you are. Be sure not to bombard their inbox or call non-stop, though.

2. Don’t burn bridges with your previous bosses

Building a good referee relationship with your previous bosses is vital to making your job search more effective. 

Employers want to hire people with a successful work history who would be an asset to their company. 

If you are perceived as difficult or untrustworthy by your previous bosses, employers may not want to give you the opportunity. 

To build good referee relationships with your former coworkers and bosses, ensure they know your departure and that you were given proper notice before leaving. 

Maintaining professional relationships with them after the separation is essential and keep in contact if possible.

3. Be good at what you do

Being good at what you do is vital to building a good referee relationship because it helps build trust and credibility. 

When the two are in sync, it creates an environment of mutual respect and understanding. 

Referees can provide honest feedback if they know you are competent enough to handle tasks, and trust is the basis of all good relationships. 

However, it is not enough to be merely competent and doing a good job. There are plenty of people who can do that. 

To build and maintain a good referee relationship with clients and employers, the type of work needs to stand out in their eyes as being exceptional or unique.

4. Be patient and understanding when communication is difficult

When you are patient and understanding, the referee will feel more at ease and comfortable opening up to you. 

It’s not just about being patient with the individual but also trying to understand where they are coming from. This means listening carefully to what they say and asking follow-up questions. 

5. Stay professional and keep a positive attitude 

Professionalism and a positive attitude are essential traits that will help you build a good reference relationship. 

Staying professional means always taking the appropriate steps to maintain your reputation. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you be seen as someone reliable and easy to work with. 

A referee can help you avoid future headaches, keep your reputation intact, and build your credibility in the professional world when maintained respectfully and professionally.


What are acceptable relationships with referees?

They can be short-term or long-term, personal or professional. As long as the referee is acting in their professional capacity and doesn’t have a conflict of interest, they can referee your job.

Do employers actually call references?

Employers typically only call job referees when they have narrowed down their candidate pool and want to know more about the person they are considering. 

Can your family be your referee?

Yes, but it is best to use someone who is not your family. They will be more impartial and less emotionally invested. 

Who are the best people to choose as job referees?

Job referees are people who can give you a good recommendation if you ask them to. They may be professors, supervisors, or trusted coworkers who can help recommend you to future employers or clients.

Final thoughts

Referee checking is an important part of the job search. A well-chosen reference can provide valuable insight into your candidacy and help you land your desired job. 

It’s also important to build good relationships with your referee, so they are willing to endorse you enthusiastically. 

By doing this, you can ensure that your references are a valuable source of information for future employers.

Finally, remember that a job referee relationship takes time and effort from both parties to develop appropriately. Thus, you should be patient and diligent in building it over time.

Understanding your goals for the relationship is crucial to its success; this will prevent misunderstandings later.

You should also learn more about what a recommendation letter signature means.

Thanks for reading.