What Happens After Reference Check?

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what happens after reference check

After sending out applications and completing a lengthy interview process, one of the final steps before getting a new job is a reference check.

But once you finally get to the reference check part of the process, what does it mean? And what happens after reference check?

This article is going to answer those questions, and other related questions around reference checks for you.

What Does It Mean If They Are Checking My References?

reference check call

If a company is checking your references, it means that you are one of two – three final candidates for a job opportunity.

A company is only going to check references for candidates that they are seriously considered making an offer to.

In many cases, a company will check references for only a single candidate to ensure that there were no red flags that they missed in the interview process. In other cases, they’ll check references for multiple candidates to gather additional information to help in their decision process.

In either case, if your references are being checked, you are seriously being considered for a job offer.

What Happens After Reference Check?

reference check

Once all references have been checked (and you should typically be providing about three references), for you and any other candidates that the company is seriously considering, the interview team will then typically make a hiring decision.

Generally, it takes 1 – 3 business days after reference checks are completed for the company to make a job offer.

The reason that it’s not immediate is that the hiring manager typically has to get the final approval to make the chosen candidate an offer after a reference check. That includes the ok to give that particular candidate an offer, as well as a final decision on what the offer number will be.

Note that there are some rare instances where you may be invited for another interview after a reference check. If that were to happen, that typically means there was something that came up during the reference check process that they want to ask you further about. Again, this is very rare and I haven’t experienced it as an interviewee or done it as a hiring manager before but it does happen.

Finally, note that a reference check is finally the final step in the process of vetting a candidate prior to making a decision on an offer.

Can You Get Rejected After Reference Check?

poor performance review

Yes, you can get rejected after a reference check. In fact, some sources say that candidates get rejected about 10 – 20% of the time after a reference check.

Generally, there are three common reasons you could get rejected after a reference check:

  1. You provided fake references that were discovered during the reference check process
  2. You had a bad reference that mentioned something that created a red flag for the hiring company
  3. The company checked references for multiple candidates and ultimately decided to go with somebody else

More often than not, you’ll receive a job offer after a reference check. However, rejections certainly do happen, so a reference check doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the job.

What Are The Chances of Getting a Job After a Reference Check?

did i get the job if a company checks my references

While it’s difficult to put exact odds on it, your chances of getting a job after a reference check are strong.

In fact, a company checking your references is one of the strongest signs that you will be receiving a job offer.

If I had to put odds on it personally, I would say that the chances of a job offer after a reference check are 75% or greater. Now, there is no hard data to back that up and that’s just my own speculation based upon my experience with reference checks.

The point is, reference checks only happen if you’re a serious candidate and, in my experience, you will commonly receive a reference check after a job offer.

No Job Offer After Reference Check

thinking person

If you haven’t received a job offer after a reference check, the first thing to consider is how long it’s been after the reference check was completed. 

If you’re still within the three business day window, not having received a job offer yet is not a concern.

However, if it’s been more than five business days, it’s safe to consider yourself as “being ghosted” and you can start to get a bit concerned about the status of an offer.

For more on what to do if you haven’t received a job offer after a reference check, take a look at our dedicated article on the topic.

Conclusion

A reference check is typically the last step in the process of vetting a candidate before making a final hiring decision.

Typically, you can expect to see an offer one – three business days after the company makes a final decision and gets all of the final approvals on an offer.

Now, a reference check doesn’t for sure mean that an offer is coming your way, but it’s a very good sign that things are looking good for you.

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 serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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