Perhaps You Should Check Your Own References

February 11, 2009 ( - Responses to a recent survey indicate job candidates might want to check their own references first before listing them for a potential employer - or maybe that just applies to advertising and marketing types.

U.S. advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group reported they found out less than glowing information, as well as interesting non job-related tidbits, about candidates and discovered candidates lied when they checked listed references, according to a press release.

Job candidates should make sure to use references that can speak highly of their qualifications, as survey respondents reported:

  • “I checked the reference, and the fellow just started laughing. He could not believe that he was a reference.”
  • “The person said the candidate was hyper and off the wall.”
  • “The reference said the candidate fell asleep during work hours.”
  • “According to the reference, the candidate was very insistent on making his own schedule and rules.”
  • “The reference said the prospective employee had difficulty getting to work on time.”
  • “We talked to someone who said the applicant didn’t like the industry in which she was trying to get a job.”

They should also make sure the reference does not offer too much:

  • “We learned from the reference that the woman we were interviewing liked to go barefoot all day.”
  • “A reference told us the person had 17 pets that he’d need to transport.”
  • “A professor recommended someone who was really smart, but mentioned that the person was never seen wearing anything but flip-flops.”
  • “The reference went on about the candidate’s favorite music, bars, social endeavors, etc.”

Job candidates should always assumed references will be checked, as, according to the press release, respondents said:

  • “The reference had never heard of the person.”
  • “The candidate said she’d worked for a specific agency, and we found out that she didn’t.”
  • “I was told that the candidate didn’t do the work he claimed to do during the interview.”

The national survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on 250 telephone interviews — 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from the nation’s 2,000 largest advertising agencies and 125 with senior marketing executives randomly selected from the nation’s 2,000 largest companies.