While preparing for her interview, Rosa discovers she needs to go through a reference check to prove her internship experience.

She’s somewhat nervous because her last employer isn’t very tech savvy. She’s afraid he’ll miss the email. Rosa takes matters into her own hands and notifies her former employer to look out for an email from the hiring organization.

Preparing for the reference check gives Rosa the chance to sidestep any oversight that can hamper her chances of landing the job she wants.

A reference and background check is part of the hiring process. A candidate’s profile is thoroughly verified against their claims—work experience, academic and other interests—to ensure their authenticity.

Read on to learn more about an employment reference check and how they work.


  1. What Is A Reference Check?

  2. How You Can Prepare For A Reference Check

  3. Ace Your Interview!

What Is A Reference Check?


When hiring a new employee, an organization is interested to learn more about their employment history or professional experience. One way to find answers is to revisit the places where they’ve worked as contributors. A professional reference and background check allows recruiters to understand whether the employee is culturally a fit for their organization. It also helps assess whether they’re high-performers or aspirational. A reference check is an effective way to learn about qualities that make them stand out.

Here are some common characteristics of an employment reference check:


  • A reference check may be professional or personal—either way it’s to learn more about the candidate beyond what’s written in their resume
  • For some organizations, it’s a significant part of their hiring process to ensure whoever they’re hiring is cut out for the role
  • Organizations have a chance to secure valuable information about the candidate
  • Hiring managers can make strategic decisions based on a reference check
  • It provides a glimpse into how a candidate has performed historically, setting them up for growth opportunities in the new organization


There are several benefits of reference checks such as identifying the perfect candidate for the role, navigating a pool of candidates and giving the candidates a chance to prove what’s on their resume. But how do reference checks work and how do you prepare for them? Let’s find out.

How You Can Prepare For A Reference Check


Reference check questions can leave you a little anxious, especially if you didn’t leave your last job on the best terms. But if you prepare in advance, and expect the unexpected, you can breeze through the process.

Here’s how you can prepare for reference check questions:


  • Decide Your References

Choose your references wisely. Ideally, they should be your immediate supervisors or people you reported directly to. They should be able to give a clear picture of the kind of employee you are. If you’ve worked with them on important projects or breakthrough events, it can be a useful source of information. Another thing you should note is to provide references of people you’re sure will be enthusiastic. If you think they may not be as responsive, choose someone else.

  • Give Your References A Heads Up

It’s important to notify your references in advance so they’re not caught off-guard when they receive a phone call from your prospective organization. Giving them a heads up is a way to make sure they know what’s coming. This also gives you a chance to speak to them beforehand and decide if they are the right reference to provide.

  • Discuss The Reference Check

Discuss things that can be highlighted—areas you’re good at, projects you worked on and your achievements. You can’t exactly tell them what to say, but an honest conversation with them will help you get on the same page.

  • Acknowledge Their Effort

Always follow up with a thank you note or an email to acknowledge their time and effort. Everyone has their own list of things to do and if they’re making the time to help you with your professional aspirations, they deserve thanks.


Be confident and prepared to stay on top of things when it comes to reference checks. You can definitely ace your interview and improve your chances if you have good references. It helps to expect a reference check so you’re not surprised when you’re asked for one.

Ace Your Interview!


Harappa’s Ace The interview course will teach you how to answer some of the most commonly-asked interview questions. Tackle the unexpected like being asked to provide a reference check with help from our expert faculty who share their lived wisdom to add value to the course. Learn to frame winning responses and make an impact in your next interview!

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Team Leader Interview Questions, Structured Interview, Problem-Solving Interview Questions and Structured And Unstructured Interview that will help you ace your next interview.

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