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Old 07-25-2013, 05:20 PM
212 posts, read 836,531 times
Reputation: 200


I've had to provide them for jobs that I've gotten offers for in the past, yet the people I actually listed as references said they never received a call.

I'm currently awaiting a response from a company that I really want to work for. HR said she would touch base early next week. She asked me about my references during our interview so it seemed like she would actually call them up, however my references have not heard anything. I'm hoping this is not a bad sign.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:10 PM
Location: Planet Woof
3,139 posts, read 3,504,154 times
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More times than not I have not had them called.

Other times they were called and interviewed at length.

Ya just never know...
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:27 PM
7,672 posts, read 9,910,229 times
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They usually rather call the current bosses/supervisors or the most recent past one. But personal references, usually not.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:39 PM
341 posts, read 569,569 times
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References are whatever. Most of my hiring is 'offensive,' meaning I seek people out. In my industry, it's easy to see who the best are, when I see them, I'll make an offer.

Come to think of it, all of my hiring has been that way. I always keep an eye out, I even watch the grocery baggers. If they're hustling and look competitive, I'd ask them to help carry my groceries to my car and talk with them in the parking lot about their objectives and goals. If I like it, I'll grab their number and try to find a hole to stick them.

I realize I am the most unorthodox boss on the planet, but I truly like to reward the guy who never saw it coming. It proves to them that sometimes things really do come out of nowhere.

I also love to seek those out working horrible jobs. A couple months ago I had a waiter at a Chinese restaurant who was educated to be an athletic trainer- had all his certs as well. I really liked him and he had a great outlook which impressed me given his current situation.

After I found out, I stepped outside to the parking lot and called an old friend (we played college baseball together) who was running the training department at a big college to see if he had room. Went back in and gave him my buddy's number on the back of my business card. Hes now employed.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:57 PM
3,279 posts, read 6,601,927 times
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Some companies do and some companies don't.

A lot of small businesses don't. I worked for a small CPA firm right out of college and none of my references were called. They didn't even ask me for my college transcripts! My dad has a law firm and he never checks references, says he doesn't have the time.

If we are talking about large employers, like a large corporation or a government entity, then you can be 99% sure that your references will be contacted. However, the questions will almost always be limited to "did John Smith work here from xxxx date to xxxx date as a xxxx?" and "is John Smith eligible for rehire?"

In my experience, small businesses either don't check references at all or they spend half an hour asking questions. It's one way or the other.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:29 PM
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,350,450 times
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Throughout a couple of decades and until quite recently I almost always did. The couple of "almost" times when I didn't came around to severely bite me in the bum. A few times, when I thought the applicant was just what I wanted and needed, I almost reluctantly followed up on the references and saved myself a couple of HUGE potential headaches by doing so. I know a few business owners who don't bother and they wonder why they're always having to let people go ...
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:37 PM
Location: Western Washington
8,929 posts, read 8,390,690 times
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I check references for any job above entry level, and my questions are quite comprehensive.

Yes, I verify employment. I ask the reference to give me a description of what the applicant's job responsibilities were, work habits, any disciplinary issues, attitudes towards responsibility, etc.

As with STT, the times that I have not done this have come back to bite me occasionally. A good solid reference check has never failed me.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:31 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,749 posts, read 54,373,866 times
Reputation: 31030
We do, but we only call the references of the person we select, an only after they accept the offer. The offer is contingent upon the reference and background checks. When I took this job all 3 references were called and the conversations were 30-40 minutes each.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:39 PM
7,422 posts, read 13,706,702 times
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so far i don't see a pattern in my experience:

1. my last job, big hospital system, they did a background check (done by hireright) to verify employment but didn't call any of my references. they also called my old boss and asked for the wrong person to verify employment, and never called her back. i do know that my boss will call the current managers of internal hires whether or not they're given as a reference.
2. one job i applied for this time around did do a brief reference check. i think they only called on out of 3 (and i know for a fact that they didn't stop there because of a bad reference). very small nonprofit.
3. one job i got an offer from but turned down, i don't know that they even asked for references. this was a tiny for profit company.
4. my new job, they called all but one and talked for a long time, and were generally very thorough. small nonprofit.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:56 PM
5,683 posts, read 9,127,045 times
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My current employer did a criminal background check and contacted three of my four references for lengthy inquiries before extending me an offer, which is very typical in my current industry. The one reference they didn't contact was the out-of-state one that I hadn't worked for in over a decade. The three they did call were my then-supervisor (who knew I was looking elsewhere and supported my decision to do so) and two former colleagues. All three had agreed to serve as my references, all three had nice things to say about me, and I got the job.

There's a funny story about one of those references, in fact. The usual questions were asked about work performance, work ethic, attendance, ability to get along with others, knowledge of the field and so on. As is often the case, the final question was "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about MidwesternBookWorm that would be relevant in a hiring decision?" Two of the references didn't say anything special - but the third one replied "Yes, MidwesternBookWorm makes some of the best cookies I've ever eaten, and Treat Days at your office are going to be spectacular if she accepts your offer."

Not only did I get the job, my boss STILL talks about that reference as being the most unique and memorable reference she has ever gotten for ANYONE. And yes, I take home-made cookies (and cakes, and pies, and bread) to the office regularly. After all, I've had a reputation to live up to since before I even started working there!
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