employment references

Quick Employment References — Your Performance Reviews

Checking employment references can slow a job search and a hiring process down.

However, you might be able to avoid that by giving your prospective employer copies of your written performance reviews.

If you get reviews, and they’ve been good to great, take them with you to interviews. They likely address many of the topics employers cover in reference checks.

For instance, they contain:

  1. Your dates of employment.
  2. Your job title.
  3. A description of your most important responsibilities.
  4. A description of your performance, which is a positive reference.
  5. Your manager’s name, title, and signature.

Thus, they give your potential employer almost everything they ask for when they check references and they do it NOW.

Give Your Performance Reviews to the Interviewer

As your interview closes, hand (or email in the time of COVID) the hiring manager a file folder that holds your reference list and your reviews. Tell the hiring manager you thought they might be interested in what other managers have said about you and your job performance.

They can call your professional references, you have included their contact information, but the reviews will give them pretty much the same information right now.

The Nuances

Be sure to use a file folder, not an envelope. And write the manager’s name on it.

Why? Because it’s almost impossible to hold a file folder without opening it, especially if there’s something juicy, like a confidential performance review, inside it. And especially if it has your name on it.

Conversely, it’s pretty easy to toss an envelope aside.

Trust me, after you leave, they will flip the folder open and read the positive feedback you have received from past managers.

If your interview left them with doubts about your candidacy, this information will help relieve their concerns. If they liked you, this information will confirm and help solidify their positive opinion.

No Performance Reviews — Yet

What if you don’t have any written performance reviews? If you’re working, it’s a good idea to ask your boss for one before you start making job applications.

If your boss doesn’t want to prepare it for you, write the review yourself and offer it to him/her as a draft. Ask for edits. Then copy it to your company’s form for your boss’s signature.

The Speed Reference Check

If the employer wants to hire you, your performance reviews might satisfy them to the extent that they forego further employment reference checking.

That can speed up a job offer by a week or two. I have seen it happen more than once.

Image: Stockgiu
Updated July 2020

© 2010 – 2020, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 5

  1. I was really happy to receive this email from a reader last week:

    “I read your blog about bringing my performance review to the interview and I did but I didn’t make a copy for them. I missed that bit in your blog. One of the interviewers actually asked what I think my supervisor would say about me? So I said, “Well, actually I have these performance reviews for two years of my employment with X Company.” I let him read them and he was really impressed. Thanks for such a terrific idea.”

    Thank you for sharing this.


  2. Great tip, Donna. I agree. At a recent interview, a candidate brought her last performance review. Any doubt I had about the her skills on the job were assuaged by the excellent performance review. Just make sure it’s recent, i.e., if you’re still working, don’t bring an excellent review from 2 years ago but not the past year. It will make the employer wonder why you didn’t bring the last one and might conclude that your performance declined.

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