Do References Matter?

If you wonder if references matter, the answer is a resounding yes! In fact, according to a recent Careerbuilder.com survey, 69 percent of hiring managers surveyed said they have changed their minds about a potential candidate at least once in their careers after speaking to a candidate’s reference.

All respondents of the survey included hiring managers, HR managers and workers themselves from businesses (and business sectors) all over the globe.

Of those surveyed, 80 percent of respondents said they do check references. But everyone doesn’t wait until they’re ready to offer you the job: 16 percent said they checked references before even calling a candidate in for an interview.

In addition, of the 69 percent who said that a reference changed their mind about a candidate, 23 percent said the reference helped them look more favorably at a candidate. But 47 percent of those whose opinions of a candidate were affected by a reference reported that the reference gave them a less favorable take on the candidate.

Still, not everyone weighs references heavily: 31 percent of survey respondents said a reference didn’t sway them either for or against a candidate.

Another takeaway from the survey: Job seekers shouldn’t fudge on their reference list: Almost one-third (29 percent) of survey respondents said they had discovered a fake reference on a candidate’s list. The candidate was then taken out of the running for the position.

In addition, you should make sure a reference will give you a good reference: 69 percent of those surveyed said they have received poor recommendations from those listed on a reference. So, note to yourself: Make sure anyone you list as a reference will give you a glowing one.

Another important point, don’t surprise your references. Many of the survey respondents called references only to find the reference couldn’t even remember the person who put him or her on the list!

In fact, actually checking with your potential references before placing them on your reference list can save you from a potentially embarrassing (at the least) and candidacy-ending (at the worst) outcome.

If you’re looking for a new job in Chicago, Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, Lake Oswego, or Tacoma, send your resume (and a list of current, positive references) to a recruiter at the Opti Staffing Group. We look forward to hearing from you.

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