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Reference checks (Edinburgh)

I've noticed in the positions i've applied for in Edinburgh that the organizations usually ask for references in the application process - PRIOR to the interview. Its a slight pain to tell all my references (and i use different individuals for different jobs depending who is more relevant) that they MAY be contacted every time i apply for a job. Has anyone had experience with this, and does anyone know how common it is for the potential employers to actually contact the references put forward at application?
Thanks!

Edinburgh Forum