Finding a job in the current economy is no easy feat, especially if your references are less than glowing. The Creative Group recently surveyed 250 advertising and marketing executives, asking them to describe the most unusual reference checks. Among the responses:

• “Someone used her mother as a reference; needless to say, she had not worked anywhere with her mother.”

• “We learned from the reference that the woman we were interviewing liked to go barefoot all day.”

• “The reference said the prospective employee had difficulty getting to work on time.”

• “We talked to someone who said the applicant didn’t like the industry in which she was trying to get a job.”

“Job seekers need to do everything they can to line up outstanding references, especially in the current hiring environment,” said Megan Slabinski, executive director of The Creative Group.

The goal, of course, is for your references to sing your praises, not the other way around, as these responses indicate:

• “I checked the reference, and the fellow just started laughing. He could not believe that he was a reference.”

• “The person said the candidate was hyper and off the wall.”

• “The reference said the candidate fell asleep during work hours.”

• “According to the reference, the candidate was very insistent on making his own schedule and rules.”

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