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5 Tips To An ‘A Plus’ Medical Reference

'A Plus' Medical Reference

One of the most neglected parts of the medical job application process is reference checks. You might spend hours toiling away on your CV and cover letter, but only give half a thought to your list of referees. We get it – you don’t like asking people to be your referee, and if you could avoid it, you would.

The fact remains, though, that reference checks are an important and valid part of the selection process, especially in healthcare – even for casual and locum jobs in Australia.

The good news is that you have more control over the reference check process than you think. Here are five tips to getting an A+ medical reference.


1. Screen Them

It should go without saying that you only want referees who will sing your praises. Look for evidence of this from their previous interaction with you, term reports, performance assessments, and other indicators. It is up to you who you nominate as a referee, so choose wisely. In addition to being positive about you, they should be someone who is actually contactable, and will be pleasant when they are talking to the person taking the reference. Nominating a curmudgeonly consultant who will give the person taking the reference a hard time will not generally turn out well for you.


[Tweet “Nominating a curmudgeonly consultant who will give the person taking the reference a hard time will not generally turn out well for you. .”]


2. Ask Them

Ask your referees first. You would be shocked at how often this does not happen. Imagine an emergency consultant getting a call in the middle of a very busy day to provide a reference that they have not been asked to provide – again, it’s not going to reflect well on you. Explain to your referee what they are providing a reference for (i.e. the job/s), and what timeframe they will likely be contacted in.  Before you ask them, you may even consider trying to work out their perception of you.


3. Remind Them

Closer to application time, remind them that they are your referee, and let them know they may be contacted soon. A quick phone call or email will serve both as a reminder and a positive cue that you are considerate and organised.


4. Have Options

As a medical recruiter, about half of the referees we try to contact are unavailable for some reason or another – on leave, at a conference, in theatre, etc. When we’re operating with short timeframes, you need to provide as many options as you can. Aim for roughly double the amount of referees you are asked for – that way you have some backups if your first choices can’t be contacted. You can also alternate between different referees if you are applying for multiple positions.


5. Thank Them

If you know they were contacted by an employer, get in touch to thank them – whether or not you get the job. They put in the effort on your behalf, so a simple thanks will go a long way.

[Tweet “Thank your referees. They put in the effort for you, so a simple thanks will go a long way .”]


The reference check is often the last part of the application process – so make sure you do everything you can to cap off your efforts with some great references.

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