These references tend to give the shiny version of the stories and so I also use Linkedin and my peers and coworkers to augment that list. Sometimes I’m successful and I find one or two contacts I can call and other times I’m not. These people generally give a less-varnished perspective than the list your candidate wants you to call!
I also can’t remember a time that when asked, I refused to be listed as a person’s reference. An employee of mine, a colleague or coworker will ask if I would be a reference and what way I’d like to be contacted. I always say yes—I think it’s that important to the person asking (not to mention the future hiring manager).
So I find it bewildering that I get called so infrequently. Twice in a dozen years.
I know I’m being used as a reference and I know that people are getting hired.
Are recruiters and hiring managers not asking for references or are they just not contacting us?