General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Have employers stopped asking for references?

Asked by tinyfaery (44080points) 1 week ago
17 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

I am job hunting and I have had 4 interviews now. None of the employers have asked for a reference. I have not seen one job ad that says having references is one of the requirements.

Is this a new thing? Is it just my field (legal)? Am I getting lucky?

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Zaku's avatar

IME, references weren’t often asked for, and much less often actually called. I think I’ve been called as a reference twice in decades, and the last time was 20+ years ago.

It probably does depend on the field, though. Mine is software development.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Many employers have indeed stopped asking for references. I don’t work in HR, so I don’t know the reason. If I had to guess, I would say it’s because they recognize that we’re going to give them references from people who are only going to tell them positive things about us.

RocketGuy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake – our HR is not allowed to say anything negative about former employees: risk of defamation lawsuit.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@RocketGuy Yes, I had a job that I left 20 years ago with a very large corporation. They will only verify start and end dates of employment. They won’t provide anything else.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The references I see are generally start date end date and sickness. If you need someone else to tell you a prospective employee is suitable for your position there’s something wrong with your recruitment process.

jca2's avatar

I was going to say what @RocketGuy said. Since they can be held liable for a negative reference, there’s kind of no point in contacting a former employer.

janbb's avatar

I also think employers may look at online sources like your LinkedIn account for comments and referrals.

RocketGuy's avatar

@janbb – and FB, Twitter for bad judgement.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

My wife is in HR, she just repeated what was already said. HR departments only verify previous employment now. Your social media, your LinkedIn, and especially Facebook profiles are scrutinized before your resume is verified. If you need a security clearance or something like that they will want a bunch of references and they will follow up, sometimes in person.

RocketGuy's avatar

My boss needed to get a security clearance before jumping to his new job. He put me down as a reference. The guy came and asked me questions about my boss. One was: Does he seem to be living beyond his means? I pointed out the window: See that beat up old Volvo? That’s his car. => he got the clearance and left for greener pastures.

elbanditoroso's avatar

As someone whose job was to occasionally be a reference for people: The laws have gotten so strict that many employers simply restrict what you can say about a person—good or bad. You can acknowledge that they worked for you between <date1> and <date2> but you can’t give a value judgment as to their quality or work ethic – because you open the company up to lawsuits.

So in our case, we couldn’t say anything of value. I imagine that is true in a lot of places.

jonsblond's avatar

The hospital I work for did not ask for references. I applied last year.

seawulf575's avatar

I think the use of references are dying. Many companies found it was useless to follow up on them as really, they ended up having to call the reference HR for business references or friends/family for personal. The HR reps were only allowed to say whether or not someone actually worked for the company and if they left on good terms or not. No details. Friends and family would usually exaggerate so much their references became useless.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband was asked for references 16 months ago when he was interviewing. I don’t know if the headhunters actually called them.

He has had the situation where references were called towards the end of the interview process, which seems backwards, but it happens.

smudges's avatar

I don’t know if it’s still true, but they used to be able to ask your previous employer if they would rehire you and that was legal, along with employment dates.

syz's avatar

Not municipalities. They check those suckers.

syz (35938points)“Great Answer” (1points)
Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@syz You are correct. I work for the state of Hawaii, and I’m applying for other state jobs. There’s an office checking my references right now. It must be stated that my state’s HR policies are hopelessly outdated. The interviews are ridiculous.

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