Just after posting my opinion on job references comes more comments. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, a job applicant was frustrated because potential employers wanted a minimum of three job references, but her prior employers had a policy of not providing such references.
Elizabeth Garone provided good advice, suggesting that supervisors no longer with the same company might be willing to be references (and because they're no longer with the company, may be more willing to talk to a prospective employer).
Again, if I'm leaning towards hiring a candidate, I'm not going to spend time calling references - more often than not, the reference can't give me any good information and the candidate is only going to list references that show that person in the best possible light! It's not worth my time! I can do criminal investigations, skills testing and personality/instinct testing that will more properly predict success than a reference check.
Now, many attornies are warning employers about the hidden dangers of LinkedIn. Specifically, attorneys are advising employers to be wary of giving glowing remarks about employees on the site because the employers risk having the recommendations used against them in a discrimination or harassment suit.