do jobs actually contact references

do jobs actually contact references

Do Employers Actually Contact References?

It can be a daunting prospect when you are asked to provide references for a job application, but do employers actually contact the people you list as references?

When Are Employers Likely to Contact Your References?

Typically, employers will contact references when your application advances to the final stages. Of course, depending on the company or position you apply for, you may find some employers do contact references earlier.

Generally, one of the final steps will be listing references. Here your past employers, colleagues or whoever else you need to provide can be contacted and they will answer questions concerning your work habits, abilities, and character.

What Are Employers Seeking From References?

References can provide employers with a glimpse into how and why you work. Most employers will be looking to see that:

  • You have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the role. Your references should be able to share how skilled and knowledgeable you are for the position.
  • You are reliable and responsible. Good references can demonstrate your work ethic and whether you can be trusted to be reliable.
  • You possess the necessary traits to fit into the team. In a team environment, references can provide insight into how well you work with others and work under pressure.

When Contacting Your References, Be Prepared

It’s important to ensure that your references are given plenty of notice to prepare for your job application. Make sure you inform them of the position you are applying for and provide them with your current resume to ensure they are up to date with your work history.

Additionally, ensure your references are from reliable and trusted sources. Employers are specifically looking for references that are from a current or previous supervisor, professor, or other professional contacts. It may also be beneficial to include references from customers, co-workers, or volunteer supervisors.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to remember that, yes, employers will generally contact references when considering your job application. Always make sure you provide reliable references that can demonstrate your skills and traits, and be sure to provide advance notice to ensure they are best prepared.


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