Perhaps you can relate to this job-seeking scenario: You’ve sailed through the interviews with flying colors and have been told that the job is virtually yours after they get back to you in short order. And then…no further response from them. You politely follow up with them and are told that the company decided to go “in a different direction.” Or even worse, your calls or emails are no longer returned.

And then the interviewer stopped communicating.  What happened, when everything was looking so positive?

Unfortunately, a very good possibility is that the prospective employer conducted a reference check(s) with your former employer and heard something unfavorable about you. Most job seekers are under the misimpression that employers cannot – and will not – say anything negative about their former employees.

While this is almost universally a corporate guideline, the unfortunate reality is that countless references violate this policy on a daily basis. While such negative input typically comes from a former supervisor, Human Resources can be a problem as well – particularly if they indicate you are not eligible for rehire, or left the company under involuntary circumstances. Complicating this situation, prospective employers – for their own legal protection – will almost never tell you that a negative reference was received. You will be left wondering what the true reason for your non-hire actually was.

The good news:  When And then the interviewer stops  communicating, you can identify for yourself what your former employers are actually saying about you. Consider utilizing a firm such as (, a reference-checking service in business since 1984 that will interview your reference(s) and document their input, word-for-word. Approximately 50 percent of all reference checks conducted by uncover negative input from the reference. Any such feedback can be used for remedial legal purposes or, more simply, a Cease-&-Desist letter that has an exceptionally high (99+ percent) documented success rate.

A negative reference is likely to continue offering the same input to every prospective employer that calls unless you detect it and take steps to stop it. Job seekers can lose many opportunities before they realize what is happening. It’s best to be proactive as it is never too early to identify – and address – a negative job reference. Do no let the interviewer to stop communicating.

About Allison

Allison & Taylor Inc. and its principals have been in the business of checking references for individuals and corporate accounts since 1984. We have successfully built our brand and corporate recognition and have been recommended by industry specialists such as The New York Times award-winning author Martin Yate (“Knock ‘Em Dead Résumés”). Numerous articles have been published about our business in newspapers and magazines including The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, New Woman, Worth, National Business Employment Weekly, The Detroit News, and The St. Petersburg Times.