Choosing Your References

References come down to two types of people: personal and professional. While you may be tempted to list out personal references because they are more likely to give you glowing reviews, you need to avoid this. While your character and ethics should be a huge part of who you are as an employee, potential employers are much more interested in how you function as an employee.

Choosing your references can be a little tricky, but when you know the types of professional contacts to use, it becomes much easier.


When you are choosing your references, one of the best types of people you can add to your list is co-workers. While managers have an insight into who you are as an employee, co-workers work directly with you on a daily basis. Further, in some cases, you may have a friendship that extends beyond the office, which means they are more likely to give you that glowing reference. Co-workers see you working every day and understand how you function in an office, conduct your work, and present yourself as an employee.


If you have recently graduated high school, college, a trade program, or any other type of school/training, then your teachers are great references. Teachers and instructors have unique insights into your work ethic, attitude, and skill levels. Teachers see you grow as students and begin grasping the concepts that will shape your future career. If you have a great relationship with a teacher or instructor, then you should consider adding them to your reference list.

Professional Group Members

In many cases, job seekers are already part of professional groups. Whether they are industry-specific professional groups or simply career development-type groups, other members make great references. If you are active in your group(s) and have formed great mentor relationships, then you should consider using someone in your professional group as a reference. While these are more of a personal reference, it is coming from a more professional and developmental perspective. These references can attest to your character, growth, and goals.


If you work at an agency or as a freelance professional, using your existing clients to get a new job or new clients is a great way to get a job or project. While using clients as references can be tricky, they can attest to how you work with clients/customers and can speak to the quality of your work.

Supervisors or Managers

Depending on your relationship with current and previous supervisors and managers, they can make for great references. Future employers love hearing from your supervisor because they have direct insights into you as an employee. However, before you start listing your supervisors on your reference list, you need to evaluate your working relationship and if you are still working for that person, make sure they know and understand you are looking for a job. If you don’t, then they could be taken off guard and it could result in the loss of your current job.

No matter who you choose to list as a reference, you need to notify that person and ask their permission. The people you choose as references need to know that someone could be calling or emailing them to ask about you as a person and an employee.

Do you have any questions about choosing your references? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Successfully Work with a Staffing Agency

Whether you’re looking for project work or a full-time job, working with a staffing agency greatly improves your chances of finding a job that fits your skills, experience, and career goals.

If you want to build a successful relationship with a temp agency, you need to first understand who the staffing agency works for.  Staffing agencies are hired, and paid, by companies looking for temporary workers and need help filling vacant labor jobs. This means that a recruiter’s main goal is to find the right talent for their client and not just a job for their candidates.

REMEMBER: A staffing agency wants to place you but never at the expense of their client. They won’t send you for a construction job interview if they feel you are unprepared or not a good fit for the vacancy.

Second, what the staffing agency expects from you.  A professional and reliable staffing agency will work with you early on to set expectations around communication, feedback and the process they follow when setting up interviews for potential jobs.  Always ask these questions before working with a temp agency:

  • What can you expect when working for them?
  • How often will they communicate with you? (Daily, Monthly e.t.c)
  • How long will it take to find you a job?
  • Will they share feedback with you regarding your interviews and resume?

Third, it is important to find a staffing agency that is open and honest with you.  You want to find an agency that:

  • Provides feedback that helps emphasize your strengths to potential employers
  • Is truthful when the job isn’t the right fit
  • Keeps you informed throughout the interview and hiring process

However, you also need to reciprocate. Staffing agencies can only do their jobs well when candidates are honest with them.  You must be truthful about your skillset and experience level. If you have a criminal record, please communicate that upfront.  While you may be hesitant to share certain information for fear that it will impact your chances of getting a job, not telling the truth can damage your reputation and affect your future job prospects.

The fourth and final key to successfully working with a staffing agency is to make sure they are a good fit.  There are many staffing agencies available and you need to make sure that you find the right fit for your specific needs.  Finding a temp agency that specializes in your industry is a necessity as well as working with someone whom you feel comfortable with and trust to give you honest feedback.

If you are interested in learning more about Diverse Staffing and the jobs that we have available near you click here.