TIP: Help your references help you

I've never suspected my effectiveness as a reference until recently when a friend of mine called me up.

Peter: "Hey Bud. Expect a call from [insert your favorite firm]. They are trying to fill a C# Architect position for their Credit desk."
Me: "No worries. Anything in particular you want me to focus on? I mean, aside from the usuals."
Peter: "Well, I was going over in my head the projects we delivered together. Do you a couple of minutes to go over them quickly with me?"
Me: "That sounds great. It's been a while. I can barely remember."
Peter: "What they are trying to deliver is a lot like project X. Boy, wasn't that a challenge?"
Me: "yup. It's a beast..."

Next thing I know, I was recalling the projects with excitement as Peter pointed out specific aspects of the project: the midnight calls when the server crashed, the long hours we had to put in to accommodate the scope creep, the free luxury massage treatments we were getting... the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Peter: "I owe you one Bud. I hope I can return the favor someday, or at least get your a couple of beers."

With that, he hang up.

I didn't realize what happened until I finished the phone call with the prospect employer two days later. It was one of the easiest AND best references I've ever given to anybody - instead of giving general answers(ie. with no teeth), I was able to give specific information and mini-stories. It's then I realized I rehearsed the call with Peter without knowing.

  • Peter was controlling the call: instead of answering with whatever comes to mind, I found myself recalling the conversation I had with him earlier. (In the absence of having a planned discussion, the mind wanders.)
  • I remembered the conversation with Peter pretty well 'cos I was doing the talking most of time - all he did was to got me verbalized my judgment by asking relevant questions.

Category: C++ Quant > Land the Job You Want > Post Interview

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