Unless your tenant is moving straight out of their parent’s house for the first time, they should be able to and willing to provide those references. If the tenant makes excuses as to why they can’t, you should move on to the next prospective tenant. You need to always ask for references and ask for a former landlord as a reference rather than their current landlord. If their current landlord has any issues with the tenant or is going through an eviction, they will be more than thrilled to get this tenant off their hands and will praise the tenant in every way to Sunday to get you to rent to them. With a former landlord you will likely get an honest answer. You should ask former landlords things like “Did they pay their rent on time?”, “Did they treat the property and their neighbors well?”, and “Why did they move out?”
Also be aware that if your tenant provides their employer as a reference, you may only be able to verify that the tenant works there and what their hourly or yearly wage is, due to privacy laws.