Recruiters Off the Clock: Is Checking References Officially Extinct?

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series. 

The Question:

Does anyone actually check references anymore?


The Recruiters:  

Joanna Mamo 

Joanna has worked in technical recruitment for over 15 years. She has been helping candidates find meaningful work in a variety of technology sectors with Ian Martin Group clients since 2008.   



Ratheesh Manivannan 

Ratheesh has worked in the field of technical recruitment since 2012 and for Ian Martin since 2015. He is passionate about matching talented people with engaging roles to create long-term satisfaction for both company and candidate.  



Nadiya Khan 

Nadiya has extensive experience as a technical recruiter and has been specifically focused on the engineering, telecom and IT sectors since she joined Ian Martin in 2015. 



The Dish: 

“Absolutely! Not only do my clients want to see references, some request references from specific companies that appear on the candidate’s resume.  Some employers are also asking to see references sooner in the process. Traditionally, collecting references was often one of the last things to occur before an offer, but some employers are requesting reference checks now prior to a second interview. Having a robust set of references is still a very important element of the job search.”

Joanna Mamo, Senior Technical Recruiter 


“Social media has made it easier for employers to get a better sense of the backgrounds of candidates, but it’s a mistake to think it has become a replacement for reference checks. Sites like LinkedIn can’t be verified for true authenticity, so employers will take a look, but they may still want to verify that those accolades posted on your profile are consistent with what your actual employers have to say about your past performance. As there is a good chance they’ll be doing a social media search, candidates should be giving any public social media pages a really thorough review regularly. Even if you have privacy settings set up so only friends of friends can see your page, you’d be surprised how connected the world is. Make sure there’s nothing posted on your social media pages that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.”

Ratheesh Manivannan, Staffing Specialist 


“Not every single employer asks me to call references, but candidates need to be prepared for that. One huge mistake I see candidates make when we do contact references is they give us the name and number of their reference, but forget to give the reference a heads up that we might be calling. It’s not only inconsiderate to the reference, it can really result in subpar comments because the person may not portray the candidate in the best light when they haven’t had time to think about their answer in advance.”

Nadiya Khan, Recruitment Manager