In psychology, a common belief is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. References and letters of recommendation are ways to try to predict future performance by looking at past performance. Over 75% of organizations in the United States check references for all applicants, and almost all colleges and universities ask for letters of recommendation when admitting students or hiring faculty.


  • Reference check: The process of confirming the accuracy of information provided by an applicant.
  • Reference: The expression of an opinion, either orally or through a written checklist, regarding an applicant’s ability, previous performance, work habits, character, or potential for future success. The content and format of a reference are determined by the person or organization asking for the reference.
  • Letter of recommendation: A letter ...
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