You need to be careful about how you actually interpret references. If you get somebody who doesn’t say totally glowing things about your candidate:
- Think critically about whether that person may have biases that led him to the conclusions he has about your candidates;
- Ask other people about those specific qualities that the reference said weren’t good – even if you have to call back people with whom you’re already spoken;
- Understand whether any negative information is something that would stop you from wanting to hire the person. Everybody has weaknesses.
(1) Cf. A simple rule for interpreting references for a job candidate.
(2) “Understand whether any negative information is something that would stop you from wanting to hire the person” — cf. The goal of checking a job candidate’s references.