A business reference on a job application is a person who has experience with the applicant in a work capacity, and can offer an opinion on the applicant's abilities. Typically business references are past employers of a job applicant.
A business reference is different from a personal reference, which is more about the applicant's character. A business reference is about their performance in the workplace. This can include such things as the level of work experience the applicant has, the skills they possess, or the work ethic that they have.
Business references are usually requested during the recruitment process. They typically include the name of the person who has direct experience with the candidate in a work capacity, as well as their job title, the company they work for and their full contact details.
Business references are typically people who held a more senior role than the applicant when they worked together. This means business references are supervisors or managers rather than peers. College professors are another accepted business reference.
During the recruitment process, a member of the selection team will normally make contact with an applicant's business references. They will ask questions about the candidate to get a third-party opinion of the applicant's abilities. It is a process aimed at verifying the statements and claims made by an applicant in their application or interview.