To the list of things that people either love or hate—Taylor Swift, cats, Nicolas Cage, cilantro—we can safely add reference checks. Fans see them as a sure-fire way to uncover candidates’ abilities—and if they are likely to be a phenom or a fiasco. Haters, on the other hand, find them to be a complete waste of time.
One of the reasons reference checks can feel useless is that many companies put no structure in place when asking candidates to list references. Predictably, they end up with the contact info for the prospective hire’s BFF,