What does it mean if they are checking my references?
If a company is checking your references, it generally means that you are being strongly considered for a job offer. In fact, a reference check is one of the strongest signs that you will be receiving a job offer.
The reason that a reference check is a strong sign that a job offer might be coming your way is that a company is unlikely to use it’s limited time and resources to call references for candidates that they are not serious about.
Now, a reference check does not for sure mean you’ll be getting a job offer. But it does mean that you’re considered a very strong candidate on whom an employer wants to gather additional third party information.
Do employers check references if they aren’t going to hire you?
If an employer is checking references for you, it likely means that you’re a strong candidate to be hired. However, it does not mean that you will definitely be hired.
There are a variety of reasons that an employer may not extend a job offer after a reference check. Here are some example reasons why you may not receive an offer after a reference check:
- You had a bad reference
- They checked references for multiple candidates and went with somebody else
- The hiring manager left or got terminated in the middle of the interview process
- A company-wide hiring freeze was declared
- They decided to hire an internal candidate
- And other possible reasons
So, while it’s a great sign if they are checking your references, and a good reasons to be optimistic, it is not necessarily a slam dunk that a job offer will be coming your way.
How many candidates get reference checks?
It’s most common for employers to check references for only their top candidate. However, there are lots of instances where an employer might check references for multiple candidates to help them make a decision between those candidates.
If an employer is checking references for multiple candidates, they generally won’t check references for more than two or three top candidates.
Again, it’s important to remember that company time is expensive and limited. So they’re only going to dedicated their valuable resources to reference checks for candidates that they’re serious about. And generally, towards the end of an interview process, that’s only a handful of folks.
What happens after reference check?
A reference check is generally the last step in the process of a company to whom to make a job offer.
After a reference check, the person that made the reference calls will generally convene with other members of the hiring committee to report on their findings. From there, a final hiring decision will typically be made pretty quickly after that, and a formal offer will be prepared.
For more details on what happens after a reference check, take a look at our complete article on the topic.
How long after reference check to receive a job offer?
Generally, a company will make a job offer anywhere from one to three business days after their reference check process has been completed.
Note that the timing mentioned above is one to three business days after their reference check process has been completed. So if you get word from your references that the company has called all of them and completed their reference check but the time by which you hear back from the company extends significantly beyond that one to three day window, that’s not a great sign.
If your own job offer timeline extends significantly beyond that window, it could mean that they’ve offered somebody else and are either waiting for a response, or are in the process of salary negotiation.
Will I receive a job offer after a reference check?
A reference check is one of the strongest signs that you will be receiving a job offer. However, it isn’t a sure thing for a variety of reasons.
So, there is reason to be optimistic if you hear that a company is checking your references. But be prepared that there’s still a good chance that a job offer may not be coming.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you in answering the question of “what does it mean if they are checking my references.”
Long story short, it means that they’re getting close to making an offer, that you’re a candidate that’s being strongly considered, and that an offer may be coming your way shortly.