How Long After a Reference Check to Get a Job Offer?

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how long after a reference check to get a job offerA reference check is frequently one of the final steps in the job interview process and can often mean that a job offer is on the way.

But how long after a reference check does typically take to get a job offer? And what does it mean if you’re being ghosted by the interviewer after your reference check?

This article will answer those questions and others around how long it takes after a reference check to get a job offer.

How Long After a Reference Check to Get a Job Offer?

In my experience as both a hiring manager and an interviewee, a job offer will typically come 1 – 3 business days after your final reference has been checked.

That timeline is consistent with other sources on this topic, like here, here, and here.

Will I Receive a Job Offer After a Reference Check?

If you have at least three good and legitimate references that will speak highly of your capabilities for the job to which you applied, you will commonly receive a job offer after a reference check.

Personally, I have never not hired anyone due to a reference check and I have never not been hired after someone checked my references.

That said, there is no guarantee that you will receive a job offer after a reference check. And I have had managers who have not hired people due to red flags that came up in the reference check process.

What If The Company Has Been Silent and/or Ghosted Me After My Last Reference Check?

If you know for sure that a company has spoken to all of your references, and you have not heard from them for over a week since that point, that could be a red flag that you will not be receiving a job offer.

Significant delays in communication from a hiring company, particularly if it is a change in their normal pace of communication, is one of the more common red flags that you will not be receiving a job offer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Reference Checks and Job Offers

Outside of the question of how long after a reference check to get a job offer, many people have related questions about how the reference check process relates to a potential offer, which are answered below:

Is a Reference Check the Last Step in the Process?

In general, a reference check will be the last step in the process of deciding whether or not to make a candidate a job offer.

Is a Reference Check a Good Sign?

A reference check is often a good sign that a job offer may be coming your way. Employers generally only check references for candidates that they are serious about potentially offering a job. In fact, it’s one of the top signs that you will be receiving a job offer.

Do Employers Check References for Multiple Candidates?

If a hiring decision is close between a couple of different candidates, an employer may check references for a multiple candidates (generally no more than two or three).

However, in my experience, it’s most common to only check references for a single candidate, which is the one that you’re most likely to make an offer to.

Can You Get Rejected After a Reference Check?

It is possible to get rejected after a reference check. In fact, some sources say that candidates get rejected about 10 – 20% of the time after a reference check.

Most often, a candidate will be rejected due to providing fake references that are discovered when they’re vetted.

That said, I have also had managers who chose not to offer someone because of red flags that came up from legitimate references. Even though being rejected after a reference check is rare, it does happen.

This video from the company Forge Recruitment shares the experience of a recruiter who has seen companies withdraw applications due to red flags that came up in the reference check process:

When to Follow Up After a Reference Check?

I would recommend following up four business days after confirming with all of your references that they have completed their reference checks.

The reasons for that timeline is that I’ve found that it generally takes one – three business days to receive a job offer after reference check completion. If you haven’t heard back after that third day, you’re safe to reach back out the company.

What If a Company Called My References and I Decide I Don’t Want the Offer?

If you decide that you don’t want to move forward with a company after they called all of your references, then you simply need to withdraw your application from consideration.

Whether it’s because you feel like you want to wait for a better offer, you need to decline the offer due to salary, or you decide that you simply don’t want the job, it’s perfectly normal to bow out of an interview process towards the end.

In fact, if you’re not feeling excited about the offer, it’s better to withdraw your name in the application process than to quit shortly after starting.¬†

If you do decide to withdraw your name after a reference check, you may want to consider notifying your references of your decision as a courtesy.

Conclusion

A company calling your references can be a great sign that a job offer is imminent. Hopefully, this article answered the question of how long you should wait after a reference check to follow up, and other questions that you may have around job references.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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