How do we know if the references are good? Checking written references sounds like a routine process, but a written reference and the verification of such references over the phone are two different things. Written references might satisfy regulatory compliance for certain states but calling the person who wrote the reference gives light to so much more information about the caregiver. For example, a written reference may be actually be just a way for the client to avoid conflict with the caregiver, especially if the reference is handed to the actual caregiver. Why would a caregiver submit a negative reference about him/herself to a future employer or agency? An honest caregiver would, but courage to be candid by the cared can also be a challenge. Conversely, if the customer was too difficult for the caregiver to cooperatively manage, the caregiver may not have bothered to ask for a reference. Thus, a private phone call sheds much more light, but how you ask the questions is also very important. Open ended questions are key, as well as simple yes/no questions. However, if the person being cared for passed away without any other family member to provide any reference, the caregiver will have a gap in his/her reference history. We will never know how the caregiver interacted with such a client. So what is the point of a reference? It is additional information that validates your gut about a person you have/will interview/ed, and if the caregiver passes all your checks, then you can compare it to the other background checks to see if the person’s story remains consistent. Some of the information can be so revealing and self-correcting, that you will be glad you did NOT hire the person, or the opposite.