Why bother with references?
I was delighted to read a reference on our system the other day that went something along the lines of "XX XX is a fantastic person who is so multi talented that I’m sure an audible sigh of disappointment was heard when they left our shores to head your way." It gives you a nice warm feeling inside to know that someone is so highly thought of and valued. Compare this to the soul-destroying HR references that are the norm these days – confirming only job title, salary and number of sick days taken. Are companies so afraid of backlash that they won’t say anything at all? This could work in favour of the person who muddles through but does it mean potential employers are missing out on shining stars such as the person I mentioned?