Hello just a quick question: How do employers typically go about checking
references? Or more importantly what is the process they use to check a
potential employee’s work history?
The Career Doctor responds:
First let me address the “how” but let me also address the “when.”
The How: When checking references employers usually start at the top of your list
and go down favoring professional references over personal references. They use the
contact information you provide — usually by phone or by email. To check on work
history employers simply call the human-resources departments of the companies
you list on your resume or job application and ask that they verify the dates of your
employment; they may also ask about job titles and any other legally allowed tidbits
If you’ve had some employment gaps or other problems it is better to address them
in other ways then to fudge start or end dates of employment.
The When: I know you are going to think I’m evading the answer but the when really
depends on the employer the economy the industry and a few other factors. Because
of recent scandals my sense is more employers than in the past are carefully checking
employment histories and references. Remember though that employers don’t usually
start checking references until you made it into the group of finalists … so you have a
positive head start.
Some employers will only call one or two references and if they give glowing comments
about you then the employer often stops there. However if you are getting only lukewarm
references not only are you in trouble but the employer will probably go a little deeper
into your background. Please remember to always ask people if they are willing to be a
reference and then always keep your references in the loop about the progress of your job-search.
The bottom line: NEVER lie or mislead on your resume and always strive for the best
Read my article published on QuintCareers.com:
References: The Keys to
Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search.