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Employment Reference Request

Really is an appraisal report

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I have a detailed employment reference request for one of my ex-employee. It amounts to giving an appraisal report. 

I do not want my ex-employee to lose out. At the same time, I do not want to provide an appraisal report. 

I would be grateful for any suggestions how to handle this - not provide an appraisal report. 


Replies (13)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
07th Nov 2017 17:56

You just rebuff them.
Confirm the dates of employment and state it is not your firms policy to comment on anything else.
You may follow this up with a phone call saying they are fab but you don't want to put that in writing as you don't want t o be sued thank-you very much.

Thanks (2)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By lionofludesch
07th Nov 2017 18:08

Spot on.

Don't be bullied into providing loads of detail.

I rarely fill in these forms folk send to me. If they're not bland, I send a letter.

Thanks (0)
By andy.partridge
07th Nov 2017 18:10

Hello FirstTab

You say you don't want them to lose out, but am I right in thinking that you don't want them to gain any sense of advantage from your participation.

You do realise that ex-employers of other candidates might provide a 'glowing' reference and your lack of enthusiasm may well result in yours losing out.

Legally you only need to stick to facts and refrain from anything subjective but in recruitment this would be referred to as a 'bad reference' and employers would draw their own conclusions.

My view is to put yourself in the new employer's shoes. Would you welcome such information on someone you were recruiting?

Thanks (0)
By MissAccounting
08th Nov 2017 09:43

Ive had this in the past and I wrote an email saying that the employee (in this instance) was a very good worker who left the practice on good terms and that I would not hesitate to employee this person again. A week later I got an email from the ex-employee to say thanks for the reference as they got the job.

Thanks (1)
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Nov 2017 10:34

References always remind me of how, in his autobiography, James Mason tells of the time he accepted a lucrative commission to advertise Thunderbird wine, an undrinkable concoction that resembled paint stripper. (He was undergoing an expensive divorce at the time, and the commercial paid more than the film he was currently starring in).

Stuck between having to say nice things about the foul brew and his urgent need for the fee, he salved his conscience by uttering double-edged platitudes such as It has a unique taste all of its own and I can honestly say I've never drank anything quite like it.

The (American) advertising people missed the irony, and used the clips to produce a tv advertisement. See for yourself:

Thanks (1)
By Red Leader
08th Nov 2017 11:51

Aren't we in the same territory here as lenders asking for us to provide credit opinions?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Red Leader:
By andy.partridge
09th Nov 2017 12:21

I don't think so. An employment reference indicates past behaviour, but a credit reference often requires something tantamount to a guarantee of future behaviour.

Thanks (0)
Replying to andy.partridge:
By Red Leader
09th Nov 2017 13:14

I suppose it depends on the wording (there's a surprise!).
"X was honest in his dealings with me."
"X is an honest person."
The second statement might be considered a prediction of future behaviour whereas the first is a statement of past fact.

Thanks (0)
By Mr Hobbit
08th Nov 2017 13:43

I agree completely with ireallyshouldknowthisbut. Give them the required basics - length of service, position held etc. Add a commendation and suggest they call for more details if required. There should be no need to do anymore than that.

Thanks (1)
By Counting numbers
08th Nov 2017 13:46

I’ve no problem giving a written letter to someone who was a good worker. If they weren’t I stick to the facts, work dates, employed as xx, etc.
Having said that, I prefer to take a reference call.

Thanks (0)
By Glenn Martin
08th Nov 2017 15:46

Legally you only have to confirm the basic data, so if she was no good for you the employer would draw their own conclusions from that.

If she was good then just give her an honest reference that will help her out, just don't answer questions you are uncomfortable with.

You are unlikely to be sued by anyone you say was a good worker and they prove not to be for someone else that what a trial period is all about.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Glennzy:
By gphemy
09th Nov 2017 12:04

I quite agree that the employee is unlikely to sue but I don't think you can dismiss the possibility that the new employer might find reason to make the referee's life difficult if all goes pear-shaped, for whatever reason. I go for the purely factual written reference with the glowing bits dealt with by telephone - or a personal reference which is not on the [former] employer's letterhead. Aren't opinions what we charge for, and then only after risk management have had their say?

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Replying to gphemy:
By Glenn Martin
09th Nov 2017 12:31

So I give a positive reference for someone who was a good worker for me to her new employer.
2 months later he decides she is not for him and dismisses her.

No one would base the employment decision on the content of a reference provided by former employer alone.

In what way could the new employer make me, the old employers life difficult?

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