It's easy to assume that there's no way to improve your chances when potential employers do employee reference checks. However that's just not true. A good reference checking service can substantially improve your chances of landing your dream job by giving you every chance throughout the application process. It is very important to know what your referees are going to say about you before you submit their contact details to potential employers.

Most employers will conduct employee background checks, including contacting your previous employers (as nominated by you in your application). Keep in mind that depending on the position you are applying for, and the employer themselves, the extent of the checks may vary and may include criminal history and credit checks. These days many employers don't check references themselves, they engage other companies to do those checks on their behalf. The good news is, you can do something similar to learn what your referees say about you.

Hire a reference checking service

A reference checking service can anticipate the results of the employee background check your potential employer will conduct before they decide to hire you (or not as the case may be). The idea is to find out what your referees say about you – before your potential employers do. There are a number of reasons a referee may not be providing you with the reference you need or want – you may not even be aware of the reason. Whatever that may be, it's frankly irrelevant for your purposes.

The reason you hire a company to check your referees before your potential employer runs their employee background checks is to pre-empt them. You should be provided with a detailed report of the results of the contact with your referees, and if any negative feedback is provided, then you should be able to identify the problem and take steps to fix it.

How to fix a bad employee background check

A number of options exist for you – you could call the referee directly and talk to them about the issue and try to come to some agreement about future calls from potential employers. Alternatively, you could just change your referee – but that raises more questions and unknowns – who knows what that referee says about you? My favourite option is to tell the potential employer who will be doing the employee background check that they may not hear a rosy account from your referee – nominate the reason you think why that might be and tell your side of the story. This is a great option because it shows maturity and honesty on your part, and a willingness to step up and confront adversity with integrity – a great quality in every employee.