The Keys to Avoiding a Bad Reference Check

On paper, and then in person, he was the perfect candidate. However, after doing a little reference checking, Mr. Right, just turned into Mr. Wrong. What happened? How could your gut instincts and professional acumen been so far off base? Well, there are certain intangible factors that are difficult to determine from a handshake, smile, resume scan, or in-depth interview. And references can dial it in.

One-of-a-kind Data Shares the Inside Scoop

Are you an employer who is curious about why good candidates get bad references? Are you a job candidate who thought you nailed the interview, but never got the call? After analyzing data from the completion of more than 3 million candidate assessments and reference checks, has answers.

How was the data collected? Using proprietary technology, analyzed this wealth of data to determine the top factors that cause negative candidate references.

What did the data say? Data collected from these online references cited the following top three reasons for giving a poor job reference:

  1. They lacked a vision and could not handle change.
  2. They could not persuade others.
  3. They did not act with integrity.

Other problem areas often cited in negative candidate references included an inability to persuade others followed by a lack of composure in the workplace.

A Catalyst for Change

So, whether you are a job candidate looking for a better way to wrangle references or an employer who needs a more accurate read of a candidate’s on-the-job performance, there’s hope for both of you.

For employers: By integrating next-generation software with world-class behavioral science, Chequed’s high-tech tools enable data-driven assessment of a potential hire’s performance, expediting the job search process, improving efficiency, and reducing cost.

“The ability to gather and analyze pertinent information provides a window into the growing impact that data-driven technology is having on the human resources field,” Greg Moran, President and CEO of, says.  “From candidate sourcing and recruitment to assessment and hiring,’s innovative platform is giving some of the world’s leading employers a competitive advantage in building a top-notch workforce while saving time and money.”

For job seekers: Now that you have the keys to the castle, you know what employers want. Here are some tips to avoid the dreaded bad reference:

  • Embrace change. Even the most stable companies change frequently. Understand that a changing workplace and job assignments mean more opportunities to grow your skills and experience.
  • Pursue results. Don’t lose sight of the business results you are after and make sure that your managers know you share their focus on results. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by small details, keep the big picture in mind and, whenever possible, remind others on your team that it’s the results that matter.
  • Maintain integrity. Once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back. Because of the technologies available in today’s workplace, almost every action you take is easily traceable. Don’t take shortcuts with your integrity for short-term career or personal gain; they will come back to haunt you.
  • Be persuasive. Your ability to persuade others in a positive and calm manner does wonders for the way you are perceived as a leader. Approach negotiations and contentious issues in a firm but composed and open-minded way. It could get you not only a better reference, but possibly promoted, as well.

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