When Do Employers Check References?


when do employers check references

If you’re in the midst of an interview process for a job, you may be wondering at what point you should expect the employer to check your references.

And you might even be wondering if you should expect that the company will check your references at all.

To that end, this article is going to answer the question “when do employers check references” and other related questions.

When Do Employers Check References?


Typically, employers check references directly before making a job offer. In some cases, an employer may check references after an offer is made, but write a clause into the offer saying that the offer is contingent upon a successful reference and/or background check.

In either case, you should expect an employer to check references late in the interview process. Typically, they’ll only check references for candidates to whom they’re seriously considering making an offer. And that offer will generally come shortly after the reference check process has been completed.

Do Employers Check References Before or After an Offer?

accepted job offer

Employers could check references before or after an offer. In my experience, it is most common for a reference to be checked directly before making an offer. However, in some cases, they could conduct a reference check after the offer and make the offer contingent upon a successful reference check.

If you’re in a situation where an employer is checking your references before having made an offer, it’s a good sign for you. Typically, employers only check references for candidates that they’re seriously considering making an offer to. With that being the case, a reference check is one of the strongest signs that you will receive a job offer.

Do Employers Check References for Multiple Candidates?

do employers check references for multiple candidates

In my experience, it’s most common for employers to check references for only a single candidate. Generally, an employer will only call references on the top candidate, to whom they’re planning to make a job offer.

However, there certainly are instances where employers do check references for multiple candidates. In those cases, all of the candidates are typically being seriously considered for an offer, and they’re using the reference check to gather additional data to help make a decision between them.

Can a Job Offer Be Withdrawn Due to a Reference Check?


A job offer can be withdrawn due to a reference check. Most often, a job offer is withdrawn due to a reference check when the offer was written as contingent based upon a successful reference check.

It is more common for companies to wait to make an offer based upon a reference check, than to withdraw an offer after a reference check. In this case, it is very possible not to receive an offer due to a reference check, as a bad reference, or a fake reference, can certainly cost you a job.

Do Employers Actually Check References?

do employers actually check references

Yes, employers to actually check references. And if an employer asks for your references, especially if they specifically ask for them late in the job interview process, you should expect that your references will be checked.

For more information about whether or not employees check references, take a look at our full article on the topic.


When do employers check references? It almost always happens late in the interview process.

There is some variance as to whether or not it happens right before or right after an offer (with a contingency based upon a successful reference check). But, in either case you should expect a reference check to happen late in the process.

Hopefully, this article has helped answer the question “when do employers check 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 writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

Recent Posts