Jobseekers' prospects could be less dependent on a sparkling personality and stunning CV, and more about what a previous employer has to say about them.
Around 60 per cent of employers admit to having changed their mind about offering a job to a candidate they've interviewed after reading a poor reference.
However, jobseekers can minimise the risk of their references letting them down, by being aware of the top queries raised by would-be employers.
An absence record is the most important thing to keep in check, according to over 89 per cent of employers. Your former bosses' opinion of you, and whether or not they think you'll be suitable for the vacancy, came second and third in the list respectively.
Neil Rankin, recruitment and retention editor of IRS Employment Review, which conducted the survey, said: 'For job hunters, this may be surprising news. References seem to have a poor image, seen as a throwback to former times, but they are still an integral and significant part of the selection process.'