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I recently interviewed with a company and received a job offer. Prior to the interview, I was asked to provide three references, but even after getting the offer, none of my references have been called. Is this normal behavior? I am in the US.

Also, the offer is not a conditional offer.

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Checking references

Checking references is often just a formality these days. It's so easy to line up three people who'll give you a good review that honestly many companies just stopped asking. Others it's still part of the process, but they don't bother calling those references, and a small few who actually will contact the references.

Even my former coworker who used me as a reference for a job that required top secret clearance and was expecting me to get contacted got the job despite me never being contacted.

Is this normal?

Yep, pretty much. Honestly asking for references is starting to become rare enough to be considered uncommon. (Which it used to be EVERYONE asked for them)

  • My experience after 18 years working in the US is pretty much what @RualStorge says. A background check seems much more common than a reference check. – Laconic Droid May 9 '15 at 0:01
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    I think it's more that enough people got sued over bad reviews, that it's considered pretty dumb to do much from a reference other than "yup, X worked here from 1990-2004" – enderland May 9 '15 at 12:43
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There are quite a few high tech startups in New York City that hire fast and fire even faster. With these outfits, you don't have an infinite amount of time to prove your competence. What's the point of a reference check that takes up to two weeks when they can size you up for themselves in the morning of your first day and give you your walking papers by that same afternoon?

  • Some places this approach works, but that's mostly only right to work states, other states firing people is a huge process full of headaches and piles of paperwork. So depends on the location, but that said even then references tend to be pretty worthless since the person will just pick three - five people who like them anyways. – RualStorge May 11 '15 at 15:55
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A company that wants to get the best person they can for their job, will ask for and check references. Many other companies know they are supposed to ask for references, but to actually check them is too much trouble, they figure they've already figured out the best person to hire, and they don't bother to check the references. And some companies know they are supposed to ask for references, but don't even intend to use them. If you can provide references, you're probably good.

There are many, many companies that don't check references. But they are taking the chance that they are making an offer to someone who presents well, but has a glaring problem that is easily found, if they only checked a few references. Checking references doesn't ensure you get a good hire, but it does increase the chances.

But that isn't your problem. You had the references available, and got the job. Unfortunately, you also now know that you're working for a company that is relying a bit on chance to get good employees (and which means your new co-workers may or may not be quite as good as you hoped).

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