Do Interviewers call your references? |

Do Interviewers call your references?

 15th Sep 2017

Do Interviewers call your references? | | interview tips


A professional reference is important for someone to vouch to your professional qualifications. Could this method be outdated or do interviewers still call your references? Seamus Cushley, a director in PwC has suggested that Blockchain could be a new method to verify professional qualifications. This seems too modern at the moment but could be a way for reference verification in the future. For now, let’s look at some of the most common asked questions about references. 


Do I need references? 


Yes, they are so important for screening a candidate. So far, the employer has simply taken your word for it on your history and other information about yourself. Unless they have asked for educational proof of certificates and so forth. 


Usually, different interviewers will have different reference checkpoints. So be prepared with your list of references if needs be, don’t get caught off guard.   


So now, the hiring manager wants to find out what you're like on a day-to-day basis and ensure all the information you’ve provided is factual. 




SkillSurvey has released data that shows contacting references is the most common method of screening candidates. Around 70% of 300 respondents in the study indicated they reference check for every job candidate. On average, everyone will have two references but have three prepared just in case.   


Who should my references be? 


Bosses or Managers at your current or prior workplaces. It’s important that you’re asked if your current employers can be contacted as you don’t want to jeopardise your position if they don’t already know you’re leaving. If a reference is from too long ago and seems out of date, you may be asked for a more recent reference. If possible, have references which can speak to your qualifications which are relevant to the job you’re attempting to land. 


If you can’t provide any other references and you know your current references are out of date, it might be time to contact them and update them on what you’ve been doing. This gives them a better idea of what you’ve been up to and a better feel for what could be asked when contacted. If you’re unsure of what kind of answers your reference will give, it might be good to pre-ask your references their answers. You don’t want to get a nasty surprise that they’ve mentioned a few things you’ve done wrong. 


If it was over 5 years ago, it’s important to contact your references if you weren’t that close. It could prevent an awkward situation where the boss finds it difficult to remember who you are. This could leave a bad impression of you. So, choose your referees wisely! 


Ensure you’ve asked them to be your reference before putting them down as one, it’s professional courtesy. Also, it’s very unlikely that an interviewer will accept personal references as friends or family would find it difficult to provide an objective opinion of your professionalism. 


How do interviewers contact your references? 


Provide a references telephone number and email address, this provides different options for an interviewer to contact your referees. Try not to provide mobile numbers as anyone could answer the phone, business numbers are far more appropriate and professional. Some interviewers might only call but others could ask them to fill out documents to confirm the information you’ve provided. This varies with the seniority of the role and the company’s recruiting process. 


What do references get asked? 


Monster Jobs suggest a recruiter will look for confirmation of your history, performance and professionalism. The Interviewer wants to confirm that you worked there, your title, your reason for leaving and other details. It’s important to never lie when speaking about employment history as this is where you will be caught out. 

Most interviewers will try to make all questions as open-ended as possible. They want to ensure you’re the right person for the job. The questions will actually be similar to your interview questions such as “What are ___ greatest strengths?” or “What were ____ main responsibilities in this role?”. 


Does contacting my references mean I’m getting an offer? 


When your references have been checked and you don’t receive an offer, it does not instantly mean your references shot you in the foot. You’ve got competition, interviewers could check a range of different candidate’s references. It all depends on that company’s hiring process, they may check references for every one of may only check the last candidate’s reference, but it would be very difficult to tell! 


My references have been contacted, now what? 


Now it’s a waiting game. The interviewer is now close to deciding who will be the right candidate for the vacancy. It may or may not be you, but it’s important to prepare for either way. A reference contact does not ALWAYS mean you’re getting the job. 


But congratulate yourself on getting this far and hopefully, you land the job - Good Luck! 


Are you about to start your job search and need some professional advice? Why not register or email your CV to



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