The present study used text analytics software to examine the unstructured (or qualitative) data provided by job references during confidential, multi-rater reference checks. With respect to both work-related strengths and areas of improvement, job references more frequently provided words or short phrases relating to “soft skills” such as working with others and communication as opposed to “hard skills” such as computer programming or mathematics. While some commonalities across jobs were found to exist, the frequency of identified categories for both work-related strengths and areas of improvement did differ across jobs.

Corresponding Author Information

Cynthia A. Hedricks



1235 Westlakes Drive, Suite 330, Berwyn, PA 19312



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