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Avoid the checkmate of negative references

By: Katreena Hayes-Wood

Ever wonder what your references are really saying about you? Well, you shouldn’t! The best thing you can do to protect yourself from negative referrals is to check your references before you turn them over to a prospective employer.

You will have to engage the assistance of a trusted friend. Ask him or her to take a few minutes to call your listed references to see how they check out. Include both your business and personal references.

A few years ago I was checking the references for a candidate with whom I was planning to work. She gave me two business references and one long-time friend to ask for a character reference. Both of the business references were fine. Unfortunately, her trusted friend made some potentially damaging remarks about her. I would like to believe that the friend was trying to be honest and help me, the potential employer, grasp the nature of the intricate shortcomings she felt her friend possessed. However, sharing those misgivings created problems for somebody she allegedly cared about.

Most of you already know that a company representative is not permitted by law to say anything negative about you. In fact, a company agent is only allowed to give out two pieces of information:
1. Your dates of employment
2. Your eligibility for re-hire

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how favorable your references are, most companies do not check references. Many company human resource professionals are so over-worked that they rarely have the time to do thorough reference checks on potential employees. On the other hand, employment agencies usually do. This trend is likely to continue after the recent wide publicity about candidates misrepresenting themselves as possessing skills they do not have.

It’s always a good idea to know what others are saying about you during your job search. Simply ask a friend to call and pretend to be a potential employer. Below, I have added the Reference Check Form that I use. You might ask your ally to try my format.

If you get a negative reference, it’s important that you contact the person who gave you the negative reference to alert them of your knowledge of the poor reference. Reminding them that they are not allowed by law to report anything other than (1) your employment dates, and (2) your eligibility for re-hire.

It is also important to note that if someone asks you to be a professional or personal reference and you do not feel you can give them a truthful positive reference, decline to be on their reference list.

Protect yourself from potentially damaging reference! Check them before you use them!

Express Network
The Southwest Valley Express Network of the American Business Women’s Association.

To learn more about the American Business Women’s Association you may visit their website at:
"Begin each day in a thoughtful way. Pray, meditate or just sit and be in a state of gratitude. When we begin our day in contemplation, we live that day and our lives with creative and beautiful intention. Don’t be so serious about being serious! Make sure you take time, in your life, for fun, for frivolity and for good ‘ole, straight up, unadulterated laughter and joy. It’s sunshine for your heart and it’s music for your soul."

Katreena Hayes-Wood
Arrow Before the interview, ask this one question to get all the answers
Is it time to change your career?
Avoid the checkmate of negative references
Doing Your Research
Article 5 - coming soon
Article 6 - coming soon
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