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HR That Works

Strategies and Tools that Will Inspire Great HR Practices for Your Agency and Clients!


Don Phin Don Phin , 1/27/2014
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When asked for a former worker’s dates of employment, 99% of businesses will provide a response. About one-third will state whether the employee is “eligible for rehire.” Unfortunately, less than half of employers will indicate the reason why an employee left their job, whether they’re qualified, or have good work habits and personality traits.


These statistics, courtesy of the Society for Human Resource Management, reveal a truism: although businesses want to learn as much as possible about job applicants, they’re reluctant to give prospective employers information about their former workers.


These recommendations can help you make informed hiring decisions:


·       Look for inconsistencies when reviewing dates of hire. A gap in the applicant’s work record could mean that the person is trying to hide a former employer who might give them a poor reference.

·       Find out if the former employee is eligible for rehire. If two out of three businesses are willing to answer this question, ask it every time. The answer will speak volumes.

·       If the former employer is reluctant to provide information, offer them a release of any potential claims signed by the job applicant.

·       Don’t give up. Contact all former employers listed, even from jobs many years ago.

·       Ask informed questions. During the interview, ask the applicant if any past employers would be reluctant to provide a job reference. If they don’t have a letter of recommendation, ask why. Find out if they have copies of their termination notice or performance appraisals. Ask them about occasions when they had to deal with something “unfair” in their previous jobs. The response should help reveal their character.