A good reference can definitely change the way an employer makes a decision in hiring, and I am seeing it more and more in the work place that candidates are handing over the details of old referees, people they did not work closely with, and even referees that would not rehire them. It got me thinking: when people list their referees, do they even call them and ask if they will agree to provide a reference? In my previous roles, I have always given the details of a referee who was my manager and with whom I had a close working relationship. I would then follow that request up with a call to ask if they would be okay being my referee and then to ensure that I had their current phone landline and a mobile backup.
As you would probably know, there have been too many situations in which someone's mate impersonates a manager and they have been discovered.
This results in people2people never working with that candidate again, not to mention the possible legal implications. If you are going for a new job, please make sure your manager is aware that they have been nominated as a referee, and make sure they will give you a glowing reference.
There is nothing more awkward then calling someone's referee to hear that they would never reemploy the candidate again.