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The boss-less reference

Reference checks used to be a straightforward part of getting a new job.

But today, the reference check is vastly more complicated.

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Because most job candidates now interview clandestinely while they still have a job, they foreclose the possibility of having their current supervisor called for verification of employment.

The growing prevalence of the employed looking for jobs rather than the unemployed has brought about a major shift in reference checking, according to Management Recruiters International Inc. (MRI).

A much more diverse group of references has now become acceptable - even desirable - to recruiters and employers than ever before. Some of those references listed by MRI include:

*Co-workers who may not speak officially for the company, but can speak from personal experience.

*Business contacts outside the candidate's current company who have worked closely with the job seeker.

*A candidate's former employer who has left the company. He or she can stress the candidate's importance within the workplace.

*Colleagues from professional associations or other entities where the candidate's professional skills and performance might be known or evaluated.