If you think that nobody checks references in this economy, you are incorrect. Alison Green gets lots of questions about who actually checks references when hiring candidates for jobs, and has decided to share her knowledge with us so we know which ideas are myths and which are facts. One myth is that "employers will only call the references on the list you gave them". Incorrect. Recruiters can call anyone - a former manager, a previous coworker, etc. And those past employers can say both positive and negative things about you. So if you’re worried a past manager will ruin your chances of getting the next job, Green suggests calling them and trying to reach a compromise so they will have positive feedback on you if they ever get a call.