Do References Really Matter?

10 tips for providing recommendations

Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer

The importance of references seems to be a hot topic these days. Employers want to make sure they are hiring the right person for the job; but some thwart the process because checking references can be labor-intensive. On the other hand, job seekers provide references they know will give a glowing report, but employers are getting smarter and finding references you didn't provide.

So, what's the deal? Do references matter? Do employers even check them anymore? What's the protocol for providing them to a potential employer? Who are the best people to include as references? And, if an employer doesn't call any of your references, is it a bad sign?