We still come across employers who are not seeking references prior to engaging a new member of staff, sadly they don’t usually speak to us until it is too late and a new hire has failed.  Would you buy a car without looking at the service record?  A house without a survey? 

A new employee is a serious undertaking for any organisation of any size.  There is a huge investment in time, training, onboarding etc so surely it would make sense to find out as much as possible about the person you are going to include in your team.   Should you make a mistake in the hiring process, there is then the cost of poor performance or failed probationary periods to deal with.

EMPLOYMENT REFERENCES – What information should I request?

Dates of Employment – Are the dates on the CV correct? Candidates will sometimes expand the dates of employment to avoid gaps on CVs

Position – Was the candidate as senior as they claim? Was their level of responsibility what it appears?

Salary – A delicate subject for some but have you based your offer on the salary paid in a previous role?  Has the past salary been inflated to ensure a higher offer?

Absence – Is there a history of repetitive absence?  Sickness is an expensive drain on resources.  An applicant with a single long absence due to say, an operation or illness should not be a worry but a pattern of short absences may act as a warning of things to come.

Personality and Suitability – How did your applicant fit into their last organisation?  Did they struggle with authority? Were they conscientious?  Were they ever the subject of disciplinary procedures? These are all things that you may wish to consider before employing someone.


Many employers fall foul of Educational credentials that are being misrepresented on CVs.  This can be avoided by taking the time to check educational references.  Although it may seem like a drag right now it is important to carry out educational referencing, particularly if specific qualifications are essential to the role.  

  • Did the applicant attend the school/institution that they say they did?
  • Did they attend for the time stated or for just a short time?
  • Did they complete the course and gain a qualification or simply start the course and leave with nothing?
  • Is their qualification/Degree actually in the subject they say it is?

Is your applicant from abroad?  If so the qualification may not be what you expect, it is always worth following up foreign qualifications to gauge their level against UK qualifications.

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All of our temporary staff are fully referenced for all employment going back five years and if they are to be placed in a financial institution, depending on the requirements of the client, we can check them for Criminal Records, Sanctions and Credit Referencing.  In addition, we fully reference for education and qualifications.  We don’t as standard reference permanent placements as we find that most clients like to carry this out themselves but we are happy to do so upon request.

For any additional advice or guidance regarding referencing or other HR matters feel free to contact us on 620297.