Reference checking is the process of vetting an individual, group of individuals, or service to qualify for an opportunity. That definition is extremely broad and raises many questions. The simple interpretation is a belief that past experiences will predict future behavior. Learning about past experiences is nothing more than informal reference checking.
Many of us reference check every day without even realizing that we are actually checking references. Here are a few nontraditional, informal situations in which you are reference checking:
Picking a Church
Picking a Travel/Club Sports organization for your child
Picking a Restaurant
Buying anything for the first time online from a retailer
Buying anything from Ebay
Picking a Contractor
I think you understand the point I’m making. Let’s dig a bit deeper into each one of these nontraditional examples.
Picking a Church- first thing that many will do is ask multiple members about church leadership, facilities etc… Facebook
Picking a Restaurant- Yelp
Buying anything for the first time online from a retailer- reading the reviews- ie. Amazon
Buying anything from Ebay- Feedback rating
Using Uber- Driver star rating
Picking a Contractor- Home Advisor
Using the above nontraditional examples, you can see that reference checking plays is a huge component in our everyday lives. In the same manner, giving references is vitally important in helping others make informed decisions. We all use data, even if we do not realize it, but we all value as much data as we can process. The nontraditional examples above are nothing more than ongoing reference checks put into a format that is easily accessible.
The question of “Who Should Be Referenced Checked?” perhaps should read “Who, If Anyone, Is Not Reference Checked?”