It’s a good sign when an employer asks to check your references, as this means you’re a serious contender for a job opening.
Reference checks are one of the final steps in the process, but do not guarantee you’ll get the job, as some employers may check references for two or three candidates before deciding who to give an offer to.
In an ideal world, reference checks would take anywhere from three business days to two business weeks (10 days), but sometimes the process can be delayed. After some time has passed, it’s acceptable to check back in with the hiring manager and get more information, or see if they need anything more from you.
To that end, this article is going to unpack when to follow up after a reference check, along with other related questions.
Let’s dive in.
When To Follow Up After a Reference Check?
You should wait at least a week, or five business days, before following up after a reference check, although you can wait up to ten days.
When following up, try not to assume the worst. Reference checks may be delayed for a number of reasons, such as the hiring manager or one or more of your references being out of the office. Someone on your list may also not have returned the hiring manager’s phone call or email due to a busy schedule, and the hiring manager themselves may have had other priorities come up that pushed the reference check down the list.
However, in some cases, there may be some concerning information that came up when the hiring manager talked to one or more of your references. The hiring manager may want to review that and meet with human resources to decide the best course of action.
For example, they may have learned something about one of your weaknesses that makes them uncertain about your fit for the job, or there may be a discrepancy between something the reference said and what’s on your resume.
Should I Email After Reference Check?
If you haven’t heard anything back within a week of sending the employer your references, it’s acceptable to send a follow-up email. The hiring manager can check emails on their own schedule and make sure they have up-to-date information before responding.
You can also call the hiring manager if you have their phone number, but this may be more disruptive than emailing because they have to stop what they’re doing to look for your reference list and any notes on the call while they have you on the phone. They may also say they have to get back to you later or ask that you send an email instead. Furthermore, you may not get to leave a voicemail, or some people may simply prefer communicating by email.
Sample Follow Up Email After Reference Check
Dear (Hiring Manager),
I hope all is well. I submitted my references last week and was wondering if you have any updates on how the reference check process is going. Were you able to contact my references or did anything come up that you need me to clarify?
Should you need anything else from me, please let me know. I remain interested in the (job title) position, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
When Am I Being Ghosted After a Reference Check?
While you don’t want to prematurely assume you’ve been ghosted, it is safe to say that if 5 to 15 business days (15 business days being three working weeks) have gone by, that you’re being ghosted after your reference check.
You can also assume you’ve been ghosted if the hiring manager does not respond to your follow up contact.
When an employer checks your references, it means you’re a top candidate for the job, but it’s still not a guarantee that you’ll get the offer. Make sure you can access your phone and email in a timely manner if the employer lets you know they’ve encountered any issues in the reference process, such as delays in hearing back from someone, and remember to follow up within a week if you haven’t gotten a job offer or heard of any concerns on the employer’s end.
However, if you don’t hear anything after about three weeks have passed, it’s safe to assume another candidate got the job or hiring was put on hold.