My references have been checked, will get a job offer?
February 7, 2012 3:13 PM   Subscribe

My references have been checked after attending a second round job interview. Do you think there is an offer on the way if my references check out? Would they bother otherwise?

I went to a first round interview for a large non-profit organization. They were interviewing all day to fill two positions, so I anticipate the interviewed about 6 candidates. I was then called back for a second round interview, and I anticipate 2 other candidates were as well as it appeared that they were only interviewing during the afternoon. Within an hour after completing the second interview my references were being called. After the second interview, do employers usually make a decision before checking references, or can references be a deciding factor? Do you think I will get an offer?
posted by ariyadhana to Work & Money (14 answers total)
References can definitely be a deciding factor. For a recent job hiring I participated in we called the references of all three candidates we interviewed.

It depends on their process, but having your references called is a good sign.
posted by ODiV at 3:17 PM on February 7, 2012

References can be a deciding factor. They may be checking references for multiple people.
posted by cnc at 3:17 PM on February 7, 2012

Usually they don't bother checking references until you've made it past a few rounds of filtering, but it absolutely is possible that they've got a couple strong candidates to choose from, and references will help them decide.

I think may be likely you'll get the offer, but yeah, definitely not a sure thing. So, until you've signed the paperwork, don't go making plans contingent on getting the job. Even if they have decided for sure you're the best person and they totally want to hire you, there's always the possibility of some unexpected organizational shakeup or loss of funding or whatever, and their ability to hire anyone evaporates. This can happen with non-profits orgs and businesses alike.
posted by aubilenon at 3:22 PM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am in a similar situation right now, sweating it out right along with you. Seconding aubilenon that a lot of stuff can go down. I was just going over it in my head and it has happened to be FOUR times in a 12 year career: I was told I "had a job" and it was just a matter of making it official, and then it fell through for one reason or another.*

Four damn times!! So it's OK to be hopeful, you are close, but please please don't quit your old job or commit to spend any money or anything until you have an offer letter IN WRITING in your hand.

*There is nothing wrong with me as far as background checks or whatever
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:27 PM on February 7, 2012

C'mon, you know the internet can't tell you whether you will get an offer.

You don't have an offer until you have something in writing to sign. Obviously, though, the fact that they called your references after the callback is very encouraging (though not conclusive).

Hang tight. Good luck!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:31 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe, maybe not - it varies from employer to employer. You may even be called in for a third interview.
posted by sm1tten at 3:49 PM on February 7, 2012

Sorry, but this tells you nothing other than that you are probably a finalist. I was recently part of a hiring process where we called all of the references for the top three or four candidates -- and based on those calls, at least one person got cut.
posted by Forktine at 4:14 PM on February 7, 2012

That would depend on the references, wouldn't it?
posted by Ookseer at 4:50 PM on February 7, 2012

I have no idea if you'll get an offer. You can't assume that if your references were called, the decision was already made to hire you. I've had the experience where my references (who had let me know they were going to recommend me highly) told me "Hey, I got a call from Prospective Employer," but I ended up getting rejected by Prospective Employer.
posted by John Cohen at 4:50 PM on February 7, 2012

References are definitely part of the process. I was on a hiring committee and less-than-stellar references eliminated our front-runner.
posted by looli at 4:50 PM on February 7, 2012

Generally it's been my experience that my references weren't checked until I was the front runner, but I've definitely heard of people's references being checked earlier in the process. Most recently, I was contacted to submit a letter of reference for someone prior to their first interview. So yeah, nthing it's a good sign, but even if your references are all stellar, it's no guarantee that you're at the final hurdle let alone that you will get an offer.
posted by kaybdc at 6:04 PM on February 7, 2012

Congratulations on getting this far. That they're checking references means, probably, that they haven't decided not to hire you. That's a far cry from them deciding to hire you. (There were three of you in the last round of interviews. Unless one of you really blew it that day, the odds say you've got a one-in-three chance of getting the offer.)
posted by DrGail at 7:47 PM on February 7, 2012

I see it as you have a 67% chance of getting the job. 2 jobs and you said 3 interviews. Just like I tell my players, you cannot win if you are not in the game. Gotta play to win. You are still in the game with a good chance. This indicates they have not eliminated you.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:00 PM on February 7, 2012

In every fairly high-level job search I was ever part of, we checked references for the final three candidates. So go you!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 PM on February 7, 2012

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