Employer References Regarding Employees

What should former employers do?

o   Sometimes a prospective employer will call a former employer regarding a potential employee in an attempt to get a reference. What should the former employer say or do? The answer is very simple: tell the prospective employer ONLY the dates of employment of a former employee.

o   The former employer may know of behavior that is unprofessional, but revealing that to a future employer can be fraught with legal dangers. The information in an employee’s annual evaluation is typically a judgment call by a supervisor. That opinion can be the result of several factors, even emotional reactions to a specific situation. Years later, those emotions and decisions may no longer be valid. Thus, only the facts related to the former employee’s employment dates should be given.

What should a prospective employer do?

o   Always call a former employer of a prospective employee. I suggest calling one or two immediate prior employers to see if there is anything which the prospective employer should be aware of. While a former employer may not give information (see above section), some will.

o   Get information about personal relationships and professional behavior – asking about those two items may lead to knowledge that will affect the hiring decision.

o   If a former employer will not provide any information, then ask the following question: “Would you hire this person back?” The former employer may not give a full verbal answer, but the way they answer that question might provide all the information needed. Listen closely.


Lead On!





  1. Strange World says

    i wouldn’t want to be treated this way; the way this article suggest were I a prospective employee and the potentially new employer is following this articles logic.
    A former employer may malign because you caused a stir because they were doing something wrong so of course they wouldn’t hire you back… duhhh. but now the potential employer thinks something is wrong with the person they’re interested in and they don’t need any hassles.
    i think the better rule is would you as the prospective employer want to be judged by inadequate and out of context information the way the suggestions are provided in this article?
    i find churches do this all the time on the pastor network where one pastor calls another and asks about the person that used to go there that now attends their church.
    since they’re not hiring no need for any legal issues.
    great way to malign people with no recourse by the maligned since they don’t even know about it.
    and for some reason, people believe more deeply what they’re told in confidence by the previous pastor, which causes problems for the congregant at the new place who then has to find another place and keeps wondering what is going on because they can’t find a church they integrate well within because of the pastor network doing its behind-the-scenes character assassinations… woooo hoooo
    and people wonder why there is a constant change over in the congregants among churches, which then leads us to today where more and more people end up not going to churches because of all this madness going on showing they’re fed up with it.