If I Got a Job Offer With No References, Does It Mean No One Checked?
A reader named Ginnie wrote to say she got a a job offer, but, she told us, "nobody checked my references yet. They didn't even ask for them even though I had my list of references with me at the job interview."
She went on to ask: "Should I be worried? Are they giving me this job without checking up on me at all? Or are they still going to ask for some references before I start the job?"
My response to Ginnie about the reference checking process
"First, let me say congratulations on the job offer. I hope this turns out to be a great job for you! Now to answer your question… While I don't have enough information to know for sure, some employers simply aren't as thorough as others when it comes to checking up on an employee. But when it comes to reference checking, most employers do make the calls BEFORE making a final offer. And if they don't, they usually let you know when they tell you about the offer or in the offer letter (or offer email). They may say something like "this offer is contingent on a background check." Which means they will be doing more than reference checking. Did they mention anything like this?
What background checks look at
Background checks look at things like prior convictions, credit problems, education, work history, etc. If you filled out a job application, you may have signed something that gave them permission to do that. So perhaps they did all the checking they need already. One other possibility – apart from the employer just not bothering to do any reference or background checking – is that they made some calls based on who your prior employers were. Sometimes employers go beyond the references even when they have them, since references are usually just the ones you want to include and not necessarily the whole picture. So there is a chance some checking was done. At least enough to satisfy them. Usually an offer letter is a sign all is ok.
What to do just in case
But if you didn't get a written offer letter and you're still worried – and if this feels ok to you – you might call the person you've been in touch with and politely ask for an offer letter or email, telling them once again how happy you are to have the chance to work with them. (If they say no, that may be food for thought.) Fingers crossed that there is no more that needs to be done on either end, and that this turns out to be a great job, Ginnie. Good luck!