TODAY

TODAY   |  March 24, 2014

Survey: Most job references give bad reviews

According to a new survey, 62 percent of employers report that when they contacted a reference listed on an application, the reference didn't have good things to say about a candidate.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and the employer wants to check your references. you're thinking, i'm as good as hired, right? well, a new survey says maybe not. guess what, 62% of employers reported receiving negative reviews of a job candidate, 69% changed their mind about a potential hire after speaking with a reference. let's pause right here. have you given bad job references before?

>> i have.

>> you have?

>> now that i think about it, i have.

>> honest. just honest. and i knew that the person that used me as a reference and asked me and i said, yes, you can. and when i spoke with the potential new employer, i was honest. and it wasn't a great review. i felt like i was on the hook.

>> and it starts early. when someone picks up the phone to ask you to be a reference, it's very hard to say no.

>> you should, though. if you're going to give them a bad reference, you should say, i'm going to be honest with you, here are the things you should have worked on and this is what i will say. so they're not blind sided.

>> no comment, by the way, is just as bad. a employer says would you like to give a p reference, no, i'd prefer not.

>> a bad connection.

>> good luck with that.

>> how do you avoid it?

>> i always say, you know, i didn't work that closely with this person. that's the diplomatic way of not slamming them.

>> should you ask the person you're going to ask for the reference? should you tell them you listed them as a reference?

>> yeah. you have to call and say i want to put you on the list.

>> oh, you have to. and also, you should ask the person, are you comfortable giving me a recommendation? that's one of the recommendations.

>> people who might give you a favorable recommendation. in my case, the guy probably knew.

>> like family members.