A fairly typical and expected part of the job offer process is the reference check.
Employers use reference checks to get third party feedback about a candidate and their qualifications to do the job to which they’re applying.
Typically, it’s one of the last steps in a job interview process prior to making a job offer.
However, some companies don’t check references before making a job offer. And others don’t ask for them at all.
To that end, this article looks at the prospects of getting a job offer without a reference check.
We discuss whether or not it’s possible to get a job offer without a reference check, what it means if you’re not asked for references, and if it’s normal to get a job offer without a reference check.
Let’s dive in.
Do Jobs Actually Ask For References?
In my experience, I’d estimate that more than half of jobs ask for references.
Now, that number is not researched or sourced, and it’s a loose estimate based upon my own experience of applying for jobs over the course of my career. But, off the top of my head, that’s about what I would estimate.
In some cases, jobs will ask for references when you first apply to the position. In others, they’ll wait until close the time that they’re ready to make you a job offer and collect references from you then.
In either case, they likely won’t call your references until just before making you an offer.
I would also say that if a company does ask for your references, particularly later on in the interview process, you should expect them to actually call your references.
Can You Get a Job Offer Without a Reference Check?
Yes, you can get a job offer without a reference check. In my experience, I’d estimate that my references were checked on about 50 – 67% of the job offers that I received. That means that references were not checked on 33 – 50% of those offers.
Ultimately, whether or not a company conducts a reference checks depends upon the organization and the interview process.
In general, I’ve found that larger companies with more established and regimented processes tend to be more likely to check references. Smaller companies that are a bit more informal can be a bit more hit and miss as to whether or not they’ll conduct a reference check.
What Does It Mean If a Job Doesn’t Ask for References?
It doesn’t necessarily mean anything if a job doesn’t ask for references.
As previously mentioned, it’s not uncommon for a company to make a job offer without conducting a reference check or asking for references at all.
So, if a job doesn’t ask for you references, understand that it most likely means that they don’t have a reference check as their standard part of the interview process, rather than it being a sign that you won’t receive a job offer.
Got a Job Offer Without a Reference Check: Is It Normal?
Yes, getting a job offer without a reference check is perfect normal.
In my experience, I’d say that about one third to half of the job offers that I’ve received over the course of my career have come without a reference check.
With that being the case, there’s no reason for concern if a company does not ask for your references or if you’re surprised to receive a job offer without them having checked your references.
Should You Provide References If Not Asked?
In general, I would not recommend providing references if the company doesn’t ask.
By providing references when the company doesn’t ask for them or normally call them, you’re doing two things that could hurt you in the job search process:
- You’re adding risk of not getting a job offer if they do decide to call your references when they normally would not have
- You’re potentially delaying receipt of a job offer if they do decide to call your references when they normally would not have
To me, the downside of providing references if not asked is higher than the upside. You may be thinking to yourself that your references are awesome and that you want the company to talk to them. However, if they’re far enough along where they may want to talk to your references, you’re likely a strong candidate to receive an offer anyway and job references, particularly if not solicited as a normal part of the interview process, are unlikely to change that.
To that end, I would recommend only providing references if a company specifically asks for them.
While you may be surprised to receive a job offer without a reference check, it’s perfectly normal for that to occur.
Many companies do offer positions without checking references and there’s no reason for concern if you do find yourself on the receiving end of an offer with a company having skipped that step in the process.