Do job references really matter? Sometimes more than you know. And sometimes less. If that sounds confusing, it kind of is confusing since you can’t be sure of your potential employer’s policies. Or lack of policies.
Over the years, I’ve seen a large variation in how seriously references are treated. But if you want to err on the side of caution, by all means pay attention to how you treat your reference list and the people on it. (More on that below.)