Recently, I received a call from an employer who wanted to vent. He was deep into the process of hiring a broadcaster and even had a clear-cut favorite. However, that favorite was starting to heavily annoy the employer because of all the references he had calling on his behalf.
Another time, the director of broadcasting for an NFL team shared with me a similar story. He was being inundated with calls from references on behalf of a particular applicant. Again, it was becoming annoying. That employer told me that one or two calls from credible references could certainly help a person’s candidacy. Any more than that, though, can quickly become counterproductive.
Reference calls are like candy. They are good in moderation but too much can be harmful. Hit employers with quality, not quantity.
Choose References Wisely
Industry references are best. Sportscasting is a small industry. If a potential employer knows one of your references, it can boost your credibility and help move you to the next step of the application process.
Also make sure your references are people whose names or titles carry credibility with employers. Athletic directors and coaches, even at many large universities — much less smaller colleges and high schools — carry no weight with broadcasting employers. While they can testify to your professionalism and character, they are not experts in sports broadcasting and cannot vouch for your on-air ability.
High Profile References
If you have a big name among your resume references – for example an NFL or NBA play-by-play broadcaster or national sports talk host – include a personal phone number for that person. Listing just a main office number leads some employers to question the strength of your relationship with the reference. There is also a chance that the employer’s call will never get past the receptionist who is trained to carefully screen calls to high-profile personnel.