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I'm in a strange situation that I'm not sure how to interpret.

I am the top candidate for a job, and the HR person is currently checking my references. While he has gotten in contact with two of them, he is for some reason having a lot of trouble contacting my third. They keep calling each other for weeks now and just not catching each other. The HR person also supposedly sent the third reference an email, but he never got it. The HR person also said they would make their final decision this month.

I see no incentive for my reference to mess with me by trying to delay my candidacy and potentially ruining my chances. For some reason, I keep having to be the middleman and trying to connect the two and failing at it cause they can't seem to connect. It's been almost a month of the company trying to check all my references. What possible reason could it be that this is such a problem, and could this potentially ruin my candidacy? I am thinking of offering another reference but my current one is a good guy and reliable, and I'm afraid the same issue would come up.

Edit: reference sent in the material, so I am all set. Thank you everyone who answered, I appreciate your opinions and you guys taking the time out of your day to help me out.

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My advice would be to find a different reference; the person that you selected is unreliable. Simply supply the HR person at this potential new job with the reference's name, email address, and phone number and proceed from there.

In the past when we would have trouble finding/getting in touch with references, we would often ask for a couple of alternates from the candidate just in case. Most candidates were able to furnish a couple of extra ones just in case.

I wouldn't wait for this person who keeps avoiding the HR person to provide the reference you need.

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    I sent an email over the weekend to the HR person asking to resend the form and that my reference will be available Tuesday at any time to talk. I offered to provide another reference if the HR person still cannot reach my reference. I think that this is the appropriate last step in trying to coordinate between the HR person and my reference. God what a pain this has been. Thank you, Edward, Joe, and Stupid_Intern for your help, I appreciate your perspectives. – John Jan 5 at 14:51
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I see no incentive for my reference

That's the problem right there. This person has no incentive to do this. So you should pick your references much more carefully and coach them on when they might be contacted and what to highlight about your work experience.

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I think for some reason your reference and HR person are not able to set a time for meeting. And if they are setting a time they are not able to adhere to it.

Try to communicate the timings clearly and ask for available slots from both person if it's your job to arrange the meeting. Then see for what reason the meetings are not taking place and who is not able to adhere to it.

Do it two or three times and if there is no success try to offer some other reference.

I don't think it should affect the decision much since you offered 4 references and if HR person is weighing too much on just one reference they maybe being a little too harsh on you.

Maybe you can ask your reference or HR person for personal visit if it's feasible.

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