Veronica Brillon HR Consultant

A New Way to Practice Human Resources

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How you can respond to a Request for a Reference Check

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Responding to reference check requests could be tricky. A fear of lawsuits and reprisal keep most employers from responding, whatsoever. This advice will assist you in responding reasonably to a reference check request as you protect the legitimate interests of your business and your present workers.

Firstly, follow your business' established policy. Most businesses ask that managers send a written reference request to Human Resources. However, if a manager's reference is positive, you could concur to have the manager offer a verbal reference right to the employer.

All things that are sent in written form must come from HR, or Human Resourcesstaff ought to evaluate the response for consistency, as well as protect the best interests of the business. One usual reference check format requests for former workers:

·      Job title, and sometimes, job duties

·      End salary

·      Employment dates

·      Checklist which asks former employer to rank characteristics like

‘dependability’ and ‘teamwork’

This documentation is best left to HR - at least, request the Human Resources staff to evaluate all written response you might be considering sending. I don’t advise answering questions which ask you to rate your former worker on any element of their work characteristics or work. Ratings aren’t comparable based upon a shared meaning of the term’s definition, nor is the meaning of the rating upon a numeric scale defined upon those forms.

Secondly, examine to assure the former worker's signature, authorizing a reference check,is upon the document sent by the requesting business. Without a former worker's signature, no data ought to be given.

With few reservations, if a manger could recommend a former worker, in consultation with Human Resources staff, this manager might return the call of an inquiring employer. While responding to the call, the manager must be sure that the worker's signature authorizing this reference check is on file with HR prior to returning the call.


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Veronica Brillon CEO of Brillon Associates is an author, speaker, Professional Human Resources Consultant, and social media marketing wiz. Veronica has a passion for recruiting, training, and HRIS systems. Veronica is a leader in the HR community with 17 years of experience in human resources. Veronica’s book, “We are Human Too” “Human Resources Fun Not Frightening” was published 2010 and is now being promoted by Amazon.


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