Job Search & Interview

No News After Reference Check? Here’s What to Do 

You have had an interview. You have been offered the job verbally, pending discussions with your professional references. The references come back approved. It’s been three weeks, and you still have no news after the reference check. What is going on? Have you been ghosted after your reference check? Here’s what to do.

Unfortunately, you are experiencing what over 77% people looking for a job have experienced since Covid-19, according to Forbes. Ghosting, cutting off any and all contact with someone without explanation, is becoming a common practice. It also goes both ways, employer to the prospective employee and potential employee to employer.

The problem of employers ghosting job applicants has gotten so severe, however, that an international recruiting company has started a campaign to encourage employers to cease this practice. The practice has been linked to mental distress in job applicants. Over 86% of a group of applicants surveyed said that this practice had created mental distress for them, and 21% of those people said it had a severe impact on their mental wellbeing.

These statistics are understandable because people’s whole lives are impacted by the lack of employment. I can speak to that personally. There are constant highs and lows when applying for a suitable job, getting an interview, going through all the checks, and negotiating a salary.

I felt discarded without explanation when there was a reasonable feeling of hope followed by no news after a reference check. It felt demeaning and it was difficult to shake. I read a book on interviewing techniques to help improve my skills and got a job soon afterward!

Personally, this practice contributed to a decline in mental health after the pressures of Covid. However, it’s negatively impacting the workforce overall.

Read More: What Is Purpose Of References In Job Application?

How long does it take to hear back after reference check?

Some job seekers report not hearing back from an employer 2-3 weeks after the reference check has been completed. Is this normal? How long do reference checks take actually?

Typically, it should take 2-3 days for an employer to get back to you but that is in perfect conditions.

There may be many extenuating circumstances that cause the process to take longer. It can be very frustrating when you are waiting to hear if you got the job, but you want to practice patience for your sake and the employers.

Vacations, various chains of management, Covid-19 sicknesses, and other factors can affect the time it takes to complete reference checks or to get back to you after a clear reference check. These factors can also be influenced by the size of the company, the number of positions being hired, and the time of the year.

Remember, reference checks are not always the last step in the hiring process. So, it pays to understand the hiring process of companies.

Larger companies may follow an extremely detailed hiring protocol. Other companies may have limited resources and have a longer turnaround on hiring. There are drug screenings and background checks along with reference checks.

After all checks and salary negotiations are complete, then the offer should come. This can take as long as 3-4 weeks which may feel like an eternity for you.

Consequentially, do not quit your current job or stop looking for other jobs throughout this process. It isn’t official until you sign the dotted line.

Read More: What To Do If I Don’t Have Three References When Being Asked In Interview?

Is it okay to follow up after the reference check?

If you have waited 2-3 days with no news after a reference check, it is ok to reach out with an email or phone message. To avoid missing contact from a potential employer, be sure to check your voicemail and ensure it has room for a new message and ensure your spam email folder isn’t sending the employer’s messages to spam.

It would be quite embarrassing if you had an offer and reached out and it was there all the time. It wouldn’t say much about your organizational skills. Unfortunately, this happened to me once and the employer had already hired someone else.

While it is good professional practice for a hiring manager or potential boss to reach out to all persons who applied for the job, it isn’t always followed. If you haven’t heard anything back in 4-5 business days, it is ok to email the hiring manager or boss to say thank you for the interview and that you look forward to speaking again. Additionally, you can leave a voice mail relaying the same message, but not more than one!

There is nothing wrong with contacting a company a week after you provide your references to ask if they need any help furthering the process. Sometimes, people just get busy and forget or need a nudge to get them to finish the process.

In some situations, the reference is not getting back to the employer and the employer puts your resume on the back burner until they talk to all the references. There are so many scenarios that can happen, so don’t assume the worst if there’s no news after a reference check.

Here is a sample follow up email after reference check you can use:

Subject: Follow-Up on Reference Check for [Position Name]

Dear [Interviewer’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well. It’s been a week since my reference check for the [Position Name], and I’m eager to hear any updates. Your insights during our interview were inspiring, and I’m excited about the possibility of joining your team. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me.

Best, [Your Full Name]

Why do employers check references if they aren’t going to hire you?

There are many possible reasons for no job offer after reference check. The employer may decide at the last minute to go with another person or the requisition for the job fell through due to budgeting or other factors, and the hiring manager just moved on to the next thing.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t feel good. If it has been 15 days with no contact, send a final email asking if the job has been filled. If there is no contact after that, be happy you are not working for a company that doesn’t value your time or feelings.

Can an employer ghost someone even after they have been offered the job?

Employers have the right to ghost a potential employee anytime in the hiring process. Right up until the contract is signed, they can cut off all contact. However, just because they can, doesn’t mean it is right or it is not going to hurt them or their company in the long run.

When employers and companies ghost applicants, they get negative reviews on social media, which can hurt the company’s recruiting efforts. However, that’s not much consolation if you hear no news after a reference check.

Are there things to avoid while waiting to hear from an employer?

Once again, it is ok to contact an employer after your references, but remember, don’t be aggressive about the contact. Do not contact the hiring manager repeatedly. This could cause them to turn away from you when they were not initially intending to.

Aggressive contact shows that you are not patient and that reflects negatively on your ability to keep calm under pressure. In your interviews, ask the hiring manager or boss how long you should expect to wait and if you will be contacted either way. This will help you to relax a little and it will give you some idea as to when you can let it go.

Also, ask them the best way to follow up yourself. Ask for the best phone number or email and what protocol you should follow. When I follow-up after an interview, I ask if there is any other information I can provide to help them get what they need.

Sometimes people believe it is a good idea to make the hiring manager or boss uneasy. Do not lie about other job offers as tempting as that may be. They may decide to research the other companies or ask mutual contacts if this is true, which won’t end well for you.

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Final Thoughts

“Although you may have been ghosted by one individual or company, you may find that you have a very positive experience with the next one. Applying your efforts and energy to new opportunities after can be a good way to continue making career progress and developing your interviewing skills.”

Don’t let your current boss know you are interviewing and don’t use them as a reference. Keep your conversations and social media posts free of any mention of the topic. Wait until the moment is right before you make any announcements.

The last thing you need is to get ghosted before you sign the dotted line and lose your job or the trust of your current employer due to hard feelings. Consider aromatherapy to help you relax.

As in any situation, being completely ignored without explanation is painful and confusing. This can hurt when the situation is keeping you from making the money you want, leaving an unsatisfactory position, or planning for your future.

Taking the high road in the situation will benefit you in the long run. You will come out of the situation having dodged a possibly bad boss or work environment and be led to the job or career you were meant to have and that is priceless.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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