PMP Journey – Referees

PMP Journey
Project Team Dinner

When you apply to PMP, it feels like you are applying a job. You need to fill out a short resume, project management experiences and the referees for each project. Choosing the right referees is crucial for audit process if you get audited.

Who can be a referee for your PMP application?

Referees must be the people who worked with you for that specific project. A project manager, a project director or a project sponsor as referee is highly preferable. But still you can choose a customer, vendor or team member in the same project that you worked.

Will I or PMI contact to my referee?

If you get selected to audit process, you will definitely need to contact to your referee. Plus, you share referees’ contact information with PMI, which means that PMI has a right to contact them if there is a suspection of fraud.

When you get audited, you need your referees to sign your project experience and you need to send the original document to PMI. If your referee lives in a different country this process will be quite hard. In that case it is important that you should be physically close to your referee.

Shall I contact to my referees before I apply?

Definetely yes. Even though you believe that they will be referee to you without questioning you need to inform them at least for courtesy.

You need to inform your referees about the PMP application process. Your referees should know that if you get audited, they need to sign your experience statement.

Referee selection and ethics

PMI values to ethics and they may ban you forever for unethical issues. Not getting a PMP certificate is not the end of life, however it is a very valuable reward for all your project management experiences and your effort. So it is important that you should give importance to ethical criterias as PMI does.

I will share examples of unethical situations. PMI instructors and many bloggers warn you about those issues.

“You be my referee and I will be your referee” case is considered to be unethical. This situation may be considered as conflict of interest. Avoid choosing a referee that you refered before. And if a referee of yours would like to state you as a referee, kindly explain that this situation may create a conflict of interest.

Secondly, do not ask a person to be your referee if that person has never worked with you in that specific project. It is again unethical because it is a false statement. The projects are team work, and you work with dozens of people. There should be someone who is happy to work with you along with the project. You should be asking them.

Thirdly, avoid choosing a referee who is directly reporting to you. This situation is again unethical because it creates a conflict of interest. Try to choose a referee who you directly report or reported in the projects. At least choose someone who was a peer.


Do not forget to thank to your referees. Even though you do the effort to get your PMP certificate, they have also important voluntary contribution to your PMP Journey.