So, why do employers ask for references, then never bother to contact them? Guess they don’t really need no stinking references, eh?
A reader asks:
I found a job listing on Craigslist that interested me. I did some homework and liked what I found out about the company, and I sent my resume and cover letter. I received a response quickly and was given an interview the following day. The interview went really well, and was told a decision was going to be made quickly.
I received an email four days later telling me they were close to a decision, and would like references from me. I replied within minutes (thanks to a smartphone). Three days later, I got a job offer over the phone. After checking with my references, I found this company never called them. Why is that, do you think? Do they just want to see if I can list three people without my last name? I don’t get it. Is this commonplace these days? Another company I applied to asked as well, but never called any of them. Any ideas?
Congratulations on the offer. You’re asking a very good question. Not enough companies actually check references. Fewer job candidates check a company’s references before accepting an offer. This is a mistake on both sides.
But yes, it’s common for a company to ask for your references but not to check them prior to issuing an offer. Someone in HR may follow up with them later, after you’ve already started work. That’s pretty useless at that point for you, isn’t it? But if something negative turns up, you could get fired.
All of this points to the really big problem: HR does things simply because “that’s how it’s supposed to be done” – even when they don’t actually do it!
Just make sure the company you’re joining is a good one. Never accept an offer just because the money’s good or “because they want you.” This article might help: Peeling The Offer.
Have you ever accepted an offer, only to find the employer never really checked the references it requested? If you’re a manager, do you check references? If you work in HR, and you collect references but never check them, why pretend?