A recent Inc. article about hiring in the age of COVID discussed the increased emphasis on references as one of its main points.
In my world, reference checks have always been a critical part of the search process. Of course, that may be in part because the shopping center industry is so small. The question Poline Associates always asks is exactly what kind of VALUE do references really provide.
If curated properly, a list of references can provide a hiring company with a multi-dimensional view of your candidacy if it incorporates perspectives from individuals who interact with you in different ways.
For example, a reference list including three former supervisors can certainly shed some light on your performance in your three past roles, which is useful.
However, a list including one former supervisor, one former direct report and one former vendor most likely provides the hiring manager a much richer view of not only the kind of person you are to work for, but also the kind of person you are to work with, which is just as important.
Therefore, be certain to maximize the value of your references when you embark on a job search.