I have received an informal notice from a firm that they are willing to give me an offer, but the firm requests me to provide a reference contact before sending me the formal offer. They want to call my direct manager to do a reference check. I have already left my previous job so this is not that problematic, but I would imagine job seekers who are currently employed would be unwilling to provide this reference contact before receiving a formal offer. Currently, I also have a few offers, so I want to provide the referral contact only after I have received offer and would be sure I will join the firm.
My question is, is it normal for companies to call referees before providing an offer letter? Is it okay to tell the HR I will be willing to provide the referral contact only if I receive the offer first? Also, if my ex-manager provides negative comments about me, could this cause my offer to be cancelled?
Thanks for your advice.