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Employee References – Why You Should Request/Provide Them

References can be an extremely powerful tool in your recruitment process, for both the employer and employee. Providing a reference can save time, money and stress. It will hopefully provide the employer with an honest and valuable secondary opinion and increase their chances of employment.


When your employee leaves your company, why not provide them with a detailed reference. Discuss their skills, their performance and anything else worth mentioning. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time and it’ll give your employee a little boost with confidence and likeliness of being employed.

As you probably know yourself, it’s a lot more appealing and reassuring to hire someone who has a good reference from a previous employer. So provide other employers with that reassurance too. Unless, you didn’t like the employee, try your best to not give a bad reference. The best thing to do is to refuse to give one. Some companies have recently started to refuse references, therefore it won’t necessarily look bad on the candidate if you don’t. At the end of the day, you don’t HAVE to give one. But providing a bad one is cruel and could really mess things up for the employee. Leave the differences behind and let them smoothly move into their next opportunity.

As an employer, some good advice is to add the option for the candidate to upload a reference/recommendation from a previous employer during their application. This instantly gives you some evidence of the performance and skills of the individual, which may help when shortlisting applications. Effectively, saving time and money and providing you with high-quality candidates.


The key to getting a good reference off a previous or current employer is to make sure you work hard. You should be a punctual, organised and friendly employee and deliver the desired results. Failure to do any of this could leave your employer dissatisfied and that’s definitely not what you want.

Firstly, ask your chosen colleague or manager if it is ok to use them as a reference. Many people forget to do this. It appears impolite, stressful and rude. Imagine if every single job you applied for started calling them all at once. Not only will it bother them, they won’t be prepared and this could turn into a boring, negative and unconvincing reference. If you ask them politely, they will be prepared for the call/email and can prepare a reference. Which will consequently reflect well on you.

If they say no, then that’s no. Don’t waste your references on people who don’t want to give you one. It’s your time to shine so make sure the person speaking is going to praise you rather than slate you.

Don’t expect the employer to have done the reference within 2 minutes. They have busy lives too and bugging them to send it over will only cause awkward tension between you and the employer and may result in a rushed, unprofessional reference with lots of typos and not much praise!

Lastly, make sure that the person who is providing the reference is not too close to you. The best and most common referee is a previous or current employer so try to stick to that if you can. Hint: It’s probably best to leave out the “Oh my Granddaughter is so organised and friendly” reference from Grandma.

Make sure that the person providing the reference is respectable and professional. Therefore, if your recruiter contacts them or discovers them on Social Media they won’t think you got your reference off a drunken friend who enjoys the regular hen party.

Good luck with your job & candidate hunt, we hope you enjoyed this weeks job seeker and employer advice.


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