No Job Offer After Reference Check


no job offer after reference check

You’ve completed a full interview process with a new company. They’ve checked your references. Everything seems to be going well. But it’s been a few days. And there’s no job offer after the reference check.

If what I just described is your situation, it can be confusing and frustrating. To that end, this article is going to unpack what it means if you’ve received no job offer after a reference check.

We’ll dive into whether a reference check means that you’ll get a job offer, at what point you should be concerned that you’re getting ghosted, and possible reasons that you may not have received a reference check yet.

Let’s get started.

Does Reference Check Mean Job Offer?

thinking person

While a reference check is a good sign that a company is seriously considering making you a job offer, it does not necessarily mean that you’ll be receiving one.

In fact, some sources say that candidates get rejected 10 – 20% of the time after a reference check (though the reason is often because of a candidate getting caught providing fake references).

However, in general, an interviewer will only use their valuable time to check references for candidates that they’re serious about. However, there may be things that come up in the reference check that make them decide to forgo a job offer.

They may also be checking references for multiple candidates and using that to help decide between them.

With that being the case a reference check does not for sure mean a job offer.

Can You Not Get a Job After a Reference Check?

did i get the job if a company checks my references

Yes, it is entirely possible not to receive a job offer after a reference check.

As previously mentioned, a reference check is a strong sign that you’re being seriously considered for a job offer but, for a variety of reasons, does not guarantee that you’ll be getting an offer.

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

who calls for a phone interview

In general, you will receive a job offer about 1 – 3 business days after your final reference has been checked.

If you know that all of your references have been checked (and you should generally be providing at least three of them), but you’re still within that three business day window, then you don’t need to worry about not having received a job offer yet.

How Long Until You Can Consider Yourself Ghosted After a Reference Check

ghosted after reference check

Typically, if it’s been more than five business days since your final reference was checked, and you haven’t heard anything back from the company, you can consider yourself as “being ghosted” by the employer.

That is the point where you can start to get concerned that you may not be receiving a job offer and you may want to check in with the employer as to what’s going on.

Possible Reasons for No Job Offer After Reference Check

There are a variety of possible reasons why you may not have received a job offer after a reference check. Here are four of the most common ones from my experience:

1. You Received a Bad Reference

can a bad reference cost you a job

Even though you may think that all of your references are rock solid, there could be one of them that responded to a question in such a way to create a red flag. And if that happens, it is possible for a bad reference to cost you a job.

In fact, I once had a manager who did not hire someone because of a red flag that came up in a reference check. The reference told my manager that the person that he was looking to hire was a great individual contributor, but struggled as a people manager. The role was a people management role, so my manager decided not to hire him.

2. The Company is Conducting a Reference Check for Multiple Candidates

do employers check references for multiple candidates

Companies can, and often do, check references for multiple candidates. It can be a way to gather more information about your finalists to help make a decision as to the best candidate.

If a company is checking references for multiple candidates, it could delay the overall interview process.

Note that a company checking references for multiple candidates doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get the job. It just means that you’re one of no more than three final candidates.

3. There Are Internal Delays With the Job Offer Process

how to ask for more time to consider a job offer

Another reason you may not have received a job offer after a reference check could be due to internal delays of some sort.

It could be that the hiring manager went on vacation. Or that there was some urgent matter that came up that took short term priority.

Whatever the reason, internal stuff happens that can sometimes slightly delay the job offer process.

4. There Are Internal Changes Impacting the Job Offer Process

The final thing that could be impacting a job offer after a reference check is internal changes that may be impacting the job offer process.

What I mean by that is I’ve seen things happen like a hiring manager gets unexpectedly let go or decides to leave. Or the company hits a rough patch financially and implements a hiring freeze. 

Large internal changes like that could shut down the hiring process for a role for an extended period.

How To Follow Up After Reference Check

If you haven’t heard back from the company for at least four days after you have confirmation that all of your references have been checked, then you’re safe to follow up with your point of contact at the company. 

Here is a template that you can use to follow up after a reference check:

Hi {First Name},


I hope that you’re doing well!


I touched base with each of my references and was able to confirm that they all spoke with someone at {company name}.


To that end, I wanted to reach out and check in on the next steps in the process of making a hiring decision. 


Any update that you could provide would be very much appreciated.


Warm regards,


{First Name}


Making it all of the way through the interview process, having all of your references checked, and not receiving a job offer can be frustrating.

But, just because you haven’t gotten one yet, it doesn’t mean that one is not coming. 

So, be patient, analyze what might be going on, and follow up as appropriate.

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 writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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