There has been some debate recently about whether or not candidate references matter. In fact, a recent article on CNN called Do references really matter? explores this issue.
One quote from this piece caught my eye:
Harsh [an employer] agrees that when he receives a resume with references attached, he gives them virtually no weight.
Honestly, I don’t blame him. Today’s resume references are no more likely to turn up negative information than if you called the candidate’s mother directly. No job hunter is going to willingly provide a bad reference, it just doesn’t make sense.
Regardless, I still believe that references have their place. I have three reasons for this:
- Everyone else is going to provide a reference when asked. Regardless of whether you agree that references are useful, you need to have them in order to be at the level of other candidates. Sad, but true.
- Finding and contacting references also provides you with valuable networking experience. You never know when these references may be able to help you down the line.
- Finally, it allows you to find out directly whether or not your references will support you in your job search. Believe it or not, “non-positive” references are not uncommon.
So take the time to go through your references. It will be beneficial in the long run.