Is checking references a good thing to do or is it a waste of time? Both sides have reasonable points that can be made. Those against say that references are only people who are friends or will give a good recommendation. Those for doing so believe that checking references is a critical part of an effective hiring process, because you can find out a lot about a potential employee through the things their references say about them.

Conducting reference checks provides additional information about your candidate(s) that you may not get from other sources. Not all references provide glowing recommendations, and in some cases, the recommendations can be sorely lacking. In a CareerBuilder survey regarding references that was released in fall 2012, three out of five employers reported that when they contacted a reference listed on an application, the reference did not have good things to say about the candidate. In that same survey, 29 percent of employers reported catching a fake reference on an application.

There are a number of reasons why employers should check references. Some of the top include:
• the candidate may be lying about their previous employment,
• the applicant may be exaggerating or embellishing job responsibilities and/or achievements, and
• there may be additional reasons why the candidate is no longer employed at a previous job.

Exposing deceitfulness prior to hiring can save employers a lot of time and money. A bad hire is expensive. There are costs associated with the hiring process as well as with training, and it’s also possible to lose clients as a result of the bad hire. Employers who conduct reference checks may be able to reduce or eliminate bad hires by finding out information about the candidate’s character, as well has that person’s work ethic and drive.