These days reference checking services are become more and more popular, and not just for employers. It used to be that employers used these companies to conduct background checks on job applicants, but these days jobseekers are using reference checking services to see what their referees are saying about you. Let's face it, there is so much competition in the job market these days it is important to take every opportunity to improve your chances of landing the job you want.
The main reason to hire a company to check your references is to make sure that when potential employers do their checks, your nominated referees provide positive feedback about you. That's the ideal, that your future employers hear nice things about you from past employers. Unfortunately, that's not always the case – and you'll have no way of knowing whether it is happening to you unless you hire a reference checking service.
If your reference check is negative – that is the contact with your referees is not ideal – then the company you've hired should let you know in a full reference report they provide to you. This will allow you to make adjustments to your jobsearch strategy, which may involve removing that referee from future applications and replacing them with another, or making it clear to your potential employer that the story you're telling about your skills and experience may be different from what they hear from your former supervisor at XYZ Company. You may continue to include that less than ideal referee for a number of reasons, including for the interests of transparency and to be seen to be honest.
It's hard enough these days in the job market, and that's illustrated by the amount of help there is from companies that specialize in improving skills related to compiling applications, or performance at interviews, and more recently, reference checking services. No longer just the domain of employers checking up on their potential employees – these days jobseekers are including this service as a tool in their job seeking activities. It makes sense to eliminate as many unknown quantities in the jobsearch process as possible, and if you even suspect that one of your referees is not being as glowing as they should be when they are contacted for a reference check – do something about it. Take the bull by the horns and hire a reference checking service.