Do employers really check references?

The short answer is yes, employers really do check your references.

Reference checks are often the first step in the pre-employment process post-application review. These checks are a means for employers to filter unqualified applicants from the applicant pool. This allows qualified applicants to move into an official background check process.

References matter. Why? References confirm that you are who you say you are. They also confirm that you can perform the tasks you claim to be able to perform. The things that your references confirm or deny about your experience & values have a direct impact on whether or not you get hired. This is why it’s important to be honest when applying for jobs.

The next time you’re applying for a job, keep these 3 things in mind about references and reference checks.

1. Assume that ALL of your references will be checked.

Assume that any employer will check all of your references, personal and professional, whether listed in an application or on your resume.

A personal reference is one who can vouch for your character and personal values outside of a job scenario. When applying for a job that requires personal references, try to list neighbors, coaches, or teachers who you think will speak honestly on your behalf. Personal references from family members or friends are more likely to be biased in your favor by default.

Employers will also check all of your professional references. Professional references come from people who can vouch for your qualifications and ability to perform a job. Just like with personal references, be sure that the professional references you list (like former employers or supervisors) are people who you think will speak honestly on your behalf.

When filling out a paper or online application, try to list as many personal and professional references as the application requires. If there is no limit required, it’s recommended that you list at least two people for each reference type.

This is equally true for your resume. If possible, list at least two people for each reference type. For each reference listed, include the person’s name, their company or organization, and their title, contact number & email address.

Finally, it’s highly recommended that you let each reference know that they will be contacted. And don’t forget to thank them!

2. Be honest about your work experience and education.

You might already know that lying about a criminal conviction can disqualify you from being hired for certain jobs. But did you know that misrepresenting work experience or education can disqualify you, too?

For example, let’s say that you state in your application or resume that you passed a role-related exam to achieve a certain type of certification. The professional references you list should be able to verify that information as true and accurate.

But what if your references are unable to verify your experience? What happens if your previous supervisor contradicts what you said in your resumé about that exam and certification?

References help determine whether or not your actual work experience—your knowledge, skills, and abilities—lines up with the information in your application or resume.

A potential employer isn’t likely to hire someone who they think has lied. Many employers are willing to hire a less experienced applicant who’s willing to learn compared to an outright dishonest applicant.

Be honest about your work experience and education. If necessary, refrain from applying for jobs that are currently outside of your abilities. Gain the knowledge and experience necessary to make yourself a qualified applicant for those jobs in the future.

3. Be honest about your work ethic.

Professional references like current and former employers, supervisors & coworkers can easily reveal that you’ve misrepresented your work ethic.

Consider the following scenario: you turn in your resume to a potential employer. In that resume, you describe yourself as punctual, positive, and hardworking. You state that you had no personal or professional issues at your most recent job. You also state that you gave two weeks’ notice to your supervisor before leaving the company.

But when contacted, your previous supervisor contradicts most of your self-described work ethic. She confirms that you did give her appropriate notice before leaving the company, which is great. But then she reveals that you received a verbal warning for tardiness. She also explains that you would often appear bored or frustrated when performing required work duties that you didn’t like. She says you are not under consideration for rehire should you reapply in the near future.

Reference checks help potential employers measure your character and determine whether or not you’re a good match for their company.

Your work ethic has a direct impact on the people you work with and the business as a whole. If you use a previous employer or supervisor as a professional reference, be honest about how you performed your job at that company.

We’re reference check experts you can trust.

References matter. Personal and professional references who can confirm information about you will have a positive impact on your ability to be hired. Getting hired can put you on the right road to securing a brighter future.

For more information on reference checks, get in touch with Mind Your Business today. We can help get you one step closer to landing the dream job you’ve been searching for.

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