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Getting people to talk to you about former employees' job performance can be like pulling teeth. It seems that everyone these days is afraid of saying the wrong thing and having even innocent remarks come back to haunt them. Most people say nothing. However, you can increase your chances of getting useful employment references by following a few basic guidelines. This article describes the most effective methods for conducting reference checks. It suggests who is most likely to talk with you about a former employee and how to make you approach. It provides specific questions to ask and to avoid when seeking opinions about the job applicant. This article also offers simple and easy-to-implement techniques for using reference checking to build goodwill and referrals for your practice.