When it comes to checking references, a recent survey has revealed surprising insights into just how closely HR leaders rely on the personal referees provided by applicants. Close to two thirds of respondents reported having contacted a referee who did not give positive feedback about the job applicant. In addition, a significant proportion of those polled (29%) said that they had caught a fake reference on an applicant’s CV. Results revealed that hiring managers and HR practitioners do rely, to an extent, on references. Some 80% of employers said that they contact a referee when evaluating potential employees and 16% of those respondents said that they would do so even before inviting the candidate to a job interview. In addition, 70% of employers acknowledged having changed their minds about a candidate after having spoken with a referee. Perhaps most surprisingly, almost half of those said that they came away with a less favorable opinion of the applicant while only 23% said that the referee gave them a more favorable opinion of the candidate than they had previously. Thirty-one percent said references haven’t swayed their decisions on a candidate.